Congratulations to the Snow Hill Primary School for being recognized as a North Carolina STEM School Distinction. This unique school is home to over 360 kindergartners and first graders and all are completely immersed in STEM education.
Snow Hill is a traditional neighborhood school but, with Principal Emery Smith at the helm, it has embraced the state’s STEM rubric and integrated these foundational elements into everything the kids learn. “We’ve got 11 kindergarten classrooms and 12 first grade classrooms, and 7-8 classrooms in each grade are dedicated completely to STEM,” notes Smith. “But even in their regular classes, the students use STEM skills and approach their challenges using the Engineering Design Process. It’s amazing to watch.” Even the librarian and art teacher are STEM-focused so everywhere the students go, everything they touch, investigation, experimentation, and inquiry follow.
Even at this young age, students have STEM labs where they can experiment with hands-on tasks. They collaborate. They communicate with their classmates and teachers, and they solve problems with anything but “cookie cutter” solutions.
Principal Smith describes the School of Distinction evaluation process as intense, and the journey toward the award took several years. Each year, teachers and administrators reviewed their evaluations and tweaked and revised their methods until they got it just right. Now, the school boasts an expansive resources website filled with STEM tasks created exclusively by Snow Hill teachers. “They are 100% on board,” says Smith, “and they strive to make STEM something students, parents, and the community can embrace as well.”
It’s what makes Snow Hill so special. “What we’re teaching our students is really a transformational communications tool. Of course, reading and math are critical skills, but the STEM curriculum we teach is what excites kids. They truly want to take it home and share it with Mom and Dad. I’m just excited to see what the future brings for our school and our community.”