by Michelle Wirth
Amana Academy is the first K-8 school in Georgia and the second school in Fulton County to become Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) certified. To receive the certification from the Georgia Department of Education, Amana Academy had to meet rigorous state criteria. The criteria included: the integration of high-level math and science instruction, frequent teacher collaboration in STEM and the documentation of support from school partners. The certification comes after classroom observations, a visit from a state certification team and interviews with students, parents, teachers and STEM partners like Kano Computing, Hi-Rez Studios, Farmer D Organics and the Atlanta Audubon Society.
“Five years ago we made a commitment to inspire the next generation of responsible, innovative professionals using the Expeditionary Learning framework for delivering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education,” said Amana Academy’s Executive Director Ehab Jaleel. “The goal to become STEM certified became a key element of our Vision 2020 strategic plan; and we are very proud to have received this recognition from the Department of Education.”
The certification follows a number of STEM-related recognitions Amana Academy has recently received. The school was a finalist in the TAG Education Collaborative STEM Education Awards; 8th Grader Kai Winborne was selected as a keynote speaker at the Georgia STEM Forum; the school’s FLL Robotics Team won first place in a regional competition; the school’s principal, Cherisse Campbell received the Georgia Science Teachers Association’s Administrator of the Year Award; 6th grader Duncan Link won first place in the Fulton County Science Fair; and Amana Middle School teams won first and second place at the Georgia Tech InVenture Challenge Competition.
Amana Academy is the first middle school in Fulton County Public Schools to become STEM certified and joins River Eves in Roswell as the second elementary school in the county to receive the recognition. Only two dozen of Georgia’s public schools are STEM certified. More than a thousand schools are currently in the application process to receive potential certification.