STEM Schools of Distinction

What does a quality STEM school or program look like?

NC School of DistinctionThe North Carolina STEM School Progress Rubric answers that question. Developed by the NC SMT Center, the NC Department of Public Instruction, and the William & Ida Friday Institute for Education Innovation with support from the Golden Leaf Foundation, the NC STEM Rubric is a strategic planning tool or “roadmap” intended to support schools who have chosen to enhance the STEM education they provide to students.

The rubric has a comprehensive list of STEM quality indicators. These indicators – a checklist of characteristics that are hallmarks of programmatic quality in STEM education – are based on local, state and national research and public feedback from practitioners, educators, and business leaders.

The indicators are grouped under five overarching principles:

  • Student Opportunities
  • Classroom Environment
  • School Structures
  • School Culture
  • Community Connections

The NC State Board of Education adopted these principles and quality indicators to serve as the standard measure of quality STEM programs in the state. The STEM Schools of Distinction Program uses the Progress Rubric to recognize exemplary STEM schools or programs.