Published on April 27th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Dutch Fork High School earns coveted AdvancED STEM Certification

Pictured: Students in Dutch Fork High School’s STEM magnet program

IRMO – Dutch Fork High School’s STEM magnet program has earned the coveted AdvancED Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Certification, becoming one of less than five schools statewide to earn the distinction.

A team of evaluators from the internationally recognized accreditation group visited the Lexington-Richland District Five school April 20-22, combing through all aspects of the school’s STEM magnet program. The program’s certification is considered a mark of STEM distinction and excellence only offered to highly effective institutions that prioritize STEM education as a path to success, AdvancED officials said.

“We are very proud to be one of the first AdvancED STEM Certified schools.  Dutch Fork High School is committed to academic excellence.  This certification is the result of hard working and dedicated teachers, supportive parents and focused students,” said school principal, Dr. Greg Owings.  “Our STEM program is preparing students for success in school, in their chosen careers and in life.”

AdvancED STEM Certification is the first internationally recognized designation for STEM schools and programs, elevating the importance and awareness of quality in STEM qualification. The certification process provides a rigorous evaluation and continuous improvement process, supported by research-based tools and resources, to help schools surpass goals and expectations for their STEM programs.

This is the pilot year for the new AdvancED STEM Certification. During its pilot year, STEM certification is conducted by trained STEM certification reviewers and only available to accredited AdvancED schools. Dutch Fork High School is one of several schools certified during the pilot phase of the AdvancED STEM Certification.

“Dutch Fork High School is proud to have supportive teachers, students, parents and community partners that support our STEM program,” said Tamara Tuner, an assistant principal who oversees Dutch Fork High’s STEM program. “We are looking forward to our students benefiting from attending a STEM certified school. Our students are always at the heart of our continuous improvement efforts and are so deserving of our latest accomplishment.”

Carl Tilson, a lead teacher for the Dutch Fork High STEM program, said: “The STEM teachers had the responsibility of demonstrating the academic foundation of the STEM program through direct observation, evidence of professional development, and student achievement to the external reviewers. STEM teachers are doing an amazing job by making relevant STEM experiences a reality within their classes.”

The visit to Dutch Fork High School was part of a re-accreditation process for District Five. The district received a top review from AdvancED, renewing the district’s five-year accreditation with the organization.

“The positive review by AdvancED and certification of Dutch Fork High School’s STEM program demonstrate the laser focus we have on instruction and preparing students for the future,” said District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner . “We are proud of Dutch Fork High School and of all the teachers, staff, parents, students and community members district-wide, working together to make District Five a leader in providing top-quality education to all its students.”



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