By Sara Ray
Lithia Springs High School (LSHS) in February became the first high school in Georgia to earn both state and national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) certification. AdvancED STEM Certification is the first internationally recognized mark of quality for STEM schools and programs. The certification indicates that LSHS has demonstrated a commitment to preparing students for educational and career opportunities of the future and providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in postsecondary pursuits and in the workforce in the 21st century economy. LSHS had previously earned state STEM certification through the Georgia Department of Education.
“The STEM magnet program at Lithia is an outstanding opportunity for students across the county who are passionate about these subjects,” said Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. “We are proud of all the students, teachers, and administrators who have contributed to the complete turnaround of Lithia Springs High School over the last five to six years.”
In order to earn national STEM certification, Lithia Springs High School had to demonstrate adherence to the AdvancED STEM Standard as reflected by the school’s performance across 11 rigorous STEM Indicators. The certification process provides a rigorous evaluation and continuous improvement process, supported by research-based tools and resources. Achieving high scores across the indicators certify that students have been equipped and trained to be innovative, creative, and systematic problem-solvers across disciplines.
“We are proud to not only be the only state and AdvancED STEM Certified High School in the state of Georgia, but to also be one of the most diverse. These certifications reflect the dedication and commitment of our teachers, parents, and partners to preparing the students of Douglas County with the relevant skills, and meaningful and deep learning experiences that will dominate the work-force of tomorrow. Furthermore, a quality STEM education can help to bridge the ethnic and gender gaps of today’s math and science fields. STEM is the future, and our STEM Academy graduates enter their post-secondary endeavors as confident, innovative thinkers and problem solvers who will lead their generation,” said Payton Millinor, STEM Coordinator. “STEM certification will continue to uphold our school to high standards while providing a clear roadmap for us to continuously improve our STEM disciplines and program.”
AdvancED’s STEM certification team reviewed evidence of the quality of the STEM program at LSHS, conducted classroom observations, and interviewed school administrators, faculty, parents, students, and business partners to verify the school’s commitment to connecting STEM experiences in the classroom to the local community and world at large.
About the Lithia Springs High School STEM Academy
The STEM program at Lithia Springs High School was established in 2011 to provide the students of Douglas County the opportunity to pursue a specialized education in biomedical science, computer science, and engineering. With a problem-based approach to cross-disciplinary learning, an environment of advanced studies and high expectations is ensured by quality teachers, effective instruction, cross-curricular planning, competitive courses of study, and technology-driven, academically-based extra-curricular activities. The rigor is accompanied by service learning projects, continual student support, and quality internships. Lithia Springs STEM Academy strives to improve the world via science and service. For more information about the LSHS STEM Academy visit www.lshsstem.com.