M. Agnes Jones Set to Claim STEM Honor
“I like STEM a lot. We get to do fun experiments and we like to keep all of our data.” M. Agnes Jones Elementary School student, Kameron Green has enjoyed her STEM experience so much, she plans to keep learning. “Because of this, I want to be a scientist when I grow up.”
That’s the exact reaction Principal Margul Woolfolk had hoped for when the school began implementing a school-wide STEM curriculum. To take it even further, Woolfolk enlisted the support of community partners in an effort to develop a plan for securing STEM certification. The school is in the final approval stages now and if approved, M. Agnes Jones will be the first school in APS to have achieved that accreditation.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) certification is granted to schools after a thorough application and observation process which must show evidence of a rigorous hands-on project-based curriculum, teacher collaboration, strong community partnerships and high levels of math and science instruction.
As part of the program, Jones Elementary students are learning about aquaponics, hydroponics and urban farming. Woolfolk says this educational focus on sustainability is especially important because of the needs that exist within their own community.
“Our students are engaged in finding ways to create more healthy choices in their everyday lives,” Woolfolk said. “They are growing their own foods to combat the "food desert" that is present in their neighborhood.”
Student Immanuel McClaren has taken the lesson to heart and is excited to know his hard work could help others.
“We’re growing vegetables and fruit, we do the composting and the hydroponics, aquaponics,” McClaren said. “It’s really great because what we’re doing can help the homeless!”
Only 22 other Georgia elementary schools have been certified. The Georgia Department of Education will visit the school to observe and make a final determination.