Oakboro Choice recognized by State Board of Education as NC STEM School of Distinction – The Stanly News & Press

The Oakboro Choice STEM School was recognized Thursday morning by the NC State Board of Education as the official NC STEM School of Distinction.

It was one of three schools selected across the state for the honor this year, along with Beverly Hills STEM Elementary in Concord and Snow Hill Primary in Snow Hill. It was also the first time that a Stanly school had received this honor.

“I am honored to be here to represent a team of dedicated teachers, families, community partners and academics who have worked tirelessly since it opened in 2017,” said Oakboro Director Kelly Dombrowski, to members of the State Board of Education at its monthly meeting, held online.

Developed to identify and recognize exemplary STEM schools and programs, only about 10 percent of STEM schools in the state have achieved this honor.

After applying in February, the school learned just before spring break that it would become a STEM Distinction School for the 2021-2022 school year. While it takes an average of four to five years for most STEM schools to earn the distinction, Oakboro earned it in just about three and a half years.

STEM trainer Jennifer Crawford spoke briefly about some of the things the students have accomplished recently, including helping hurricane victims through an English novel and addressing issues that have emerged from the pandemic.

“Our community as a whole has embraced STEM,” she said, noting that she still enjoys receiving texts and emails from teachers and staff asking, “May I?” and “What if we? “

Two seventh-graders who finished fourth at the state science fair last year, Noah Waits and Lucas Mullis, spoke about their experiences in Oakboro.

“I love going to a school where the emphasis is on science, technology, engineering and math,” Waits said.

While in Oakboro, he enjoyed coding, building things from Legos, and working with various robots.

Mullis mentioned that he enjoys learning the Python coding language.

Schools that receive the honor go through an application process that includes adherence to five principles that are part of the STEM School Progress rubric: student opportunities, classroom environment, school structures, school culture, and community ties. The application goes to a review committee made up of educators from across the state.

As well as being the first Stanly County school to achieve the distinction, Oakboro joins a list of only a handful of other schools in the area, all in Cabarrus County, which are schools of distinction, according to the list. recognized schools of the North Carolina Department of Education. schools.

Sam D. Gomez