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RRES Attains International S.T.E.M. Certification

Rocky Ridge Elementary School STEM Team

May 2019

(RRES) - An AdvancED team certified Rocky Ridge Elementary as an International S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) School in early May.  This brings Rocky Ridge Elementary into an exclusive club, making it the first HCS school to attain this coveted certification and also the first in the Birmingham metropolitan area.

AdvancED's STEM Certification grants Pre-K-12 institutions STEM-implemented frameworks to institutions embodying superior enthusiasm, appreciation, and excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, educational disciplines. The AdvancED Performance Accreditation examines quality standards and requirements proven superior of institutions and grants those institutions with AdvancED STEM Certifications.  What does all this mean for Rocky Ridge students?  It's a validation of the engaging and rigorous teaching and learning they have been receiving for years. 

Rocky Ridge Elementary School accommodates a strong foundation in the STEM program; the school's theme the past five years has been "Full STEAM Ahead!"  School leaders incorporated the letter "A" into its STEM program for a very specific reason, according to Rocky Ridge Elementary School's Principal, Dil Uswatte.

"We specifically added the A (ARTS) to STEM because we felt that ART was the natural way to bring out creativity and become the glue to meaningfully integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," Uswatte said in a WVTM NBC 13 interview.

Rocky Ridge Elementary School challenges its students to journey beyond the barriers of primary knowledge and learn from hands-on, problem-based teachings.

Teachers at Rocky Ridge Elementary School stand proud of the STEAM programs that they established as part of their standardized curriculum.

Elizabeth Gilmore, a fifth-grade teacher says the school's culture has come to naturally embed STEM/STEAM actions and thought processes.

"Our school has STEM practices embedded throughout the school daily. We are continually meeting and improving the needs of our students to become 21st Century problem solvers. The importance is HUGE. This certification validates what we know is happening in our school each day," Gilmore said.

School administration, as well as students, parents, and faculty members, are all honored to have acquired such a prestigious, competitive certification which proves crucial in developing students for the careers of tomorrow.

Jada Williams, Author
Spain Park High School