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The North Carolina State Board of Education yesterday recognized three public schools for exemplary leadership and instruction in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. These schools are the latest to be recognized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) STEM Recognition Program.

STEM Schools of Distinction for the 2016-17 school year are:

You also can view previous year’s STEM Schools of Distinction.

The STEM Recognition Program was developed by NCDPI with representatives from schools, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions to identify and recognize exemplary STEM schools and STEM programs. The application process rubric is built around NCDPI’s STEM Attributes, which describe characteristics of a high quality STEM school.

Schools were recognized as meeting the Prepared or Model Level of Achievement. Regardless of the status, schools exemplify outstanding leadership and learning, which empower keen creative thinking, reasoning and teamwork – the underpinnings of 21st century skills. Schools recognized under the Model Level of Achievement go even further by systemically interweaving science, technology, engineering and mathematics into complementary coursework in the arts, career and technical education, English language arts, healthful living and world history.

Overall, 11 applications were submitted for possible recognition.

To receive this honor, schools designated as STEM Schools of Distinction are rooted in a culture where creativity and inquiry exists between and among students, teachers, administrators and community members with an emphasis on engaging students in a way of innovation and problem solving to seek solutions, and collaborative teamwork. Additionally, schools have established a network of community relationships and strategies that foster purposeful connections between student studies and the world outside their classroom. In all, schools approach education with intentionality to engage and inspire students through learning experiences that are real, relevant and balanced whereby all content areas are equally responsive to cultivating growth and success.

In addition to being honored by the State Board of Education, the schools will be recognized on NCDPI’s STEM web page and the NC STEM Center portal. Schools also will receive a specially designed STEM School of Distinction banner provided by the North Carolina SMT Center.