By Kris Freeman for White House High School
White House High School was named one of 27 schools in the state of Tennessee this week to receive Tennessee STEM School Designation for 2022, and awarded a $30,000 grant toward the WHHS STEM Academy.
The honor was announced on Tuesday by the Tennessee Department of Education, and White House High School celebrated the event on Thursday with a private ceremony at the school featuring STEM students, teachers, school administrators, county officials and supporters from the business community.
The school received a banner to display from the TDOE and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and students and staff took pictures with a mock check representing the official grant awarded to the school.
“We want to say thank you so much to our team, who put in a ton of hard work and long hours to make this happen,” said White House High School principal Ann Miller. “This is a huge opportunity for our kids and our school, so let’s take time to celebrate this accomplishment.
“This is a credit to our tremendous kids we have in this room, and our rockstar teachers in our STEM program, Peter Buchanan and Caleb Gilmore. They have worked so hard and the future is so bright for our school and this is an incredible opportunity.”
The STEM education program is an interdisciplinary curriculum in which activities in one class complement those in other classes. It also offers teaching and learning opportunities focused on inquiry, technology, and project-based learning activities and lessons connected to the real world.
“We cannot say thank you enough to the number of people in this room who made this possible for White House High School, and we are incredibly thankful for the support of our career and technical education leaders at the county level who have been behind us every step of the way,” said assistant principal Lynne Hall, who leads the CTE programs at WHHS. “We want to thank them for joining us to celebrate this achievement.”
Student leaders Alexandria Hampton and Nathan Pardoe also spoke about the opportunities ahead. While Pardoe will continue his education at White House High School, Hampton is graduating next week and will enter the engineering program at the University of Tennessee.
“I have been in STEM all four years and I have seen it grow from a little classroom in the corner to an entire hallway here in the annex dedicated to our program,” Hampton said. “This has really helped me understand where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing, and there are students who are entering college that have not had the opportunities that I have in high school. You all have a lot in your future and you should be very proud of the resources you will have available because of this recognition.”
“I have been a part of the STEM program since sixth grade and I am now finishing my sophomore year. I want to thank our teachers for the time and effort they have placed into each of us, not only as a student but also as a person,” Pardoe said. “We are not just learning about engineering, math, science, robotics and technology, but we are growing in leadership, planning and dedication.”
Brad Mosley of White House High School was the STEM team lead who helped chair the plan to apply for the STEM designation.
“That sort of process doesn’t happen with just one or two people,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it takes a large number of people working together, and in all my years here, this is one of the most gratifying projects and teams I have ever worked with. I would like to thank Dr. Del Phillips and Scott Langford, who are here from Sumner County Schools, and CTE Director Chase Moore and STEM coordinator Ben Bruce.
“Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Gilmore spent hours putting this together, and our STEM students are awesome. I don’t know of a person who has gone into the STEM classroom that hasn’t been blown away by the passion you show for our program.”
Ben Bruce is an evaluator for the State of Tennessee STEM designation program, and though he could not evaluate White House as a school in his own district, he was able to walk through and see the excellence happening in the classroom.
“I have not seen anyone to do the level of things that Mr. Buchanan and Mr. Gilmore are doing,” he explained. “We walked in there and they were trying to print a 3-D wheel and the 3-D printer was not large enough, so they made their own 3-D printer. They were blown away. What you are doing now is mind-blowing and I cannot imagine the things that will happen for the future.”
Assistant Director of Schools Scott Langford, a former principal at WHHS, expressed his congratulations to the team on behalf of Sumner County Schools.
“I remember when I was a kid in school, our technology was limited to a calculator and a Commodore 64,” he said to a room of laughter. “And I had both. But now, we have students who are learning about technology and jobs that have not even been invented yet, and are part of the process of creating that future and that is really exciting for our county and for White House High School.”
WHHS was one of 27 schools to receive STEM or STEAM designation, pushing the total to 88 statewide. However, Sumner County Schools was among the strongest of districts in the state to be honored on Tuesday, as White House joined Millersville Elementary School as a STEM designee and Portland Gateview Elementary and Howard Elementary were STEAM designees.
For more information about the programs and honorees, see the official release below the photo gallery.
Photos by Kayli Moore (click to enlarge photos)
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Brian Blackley EMAIL: EDU.MediaInquiries@tn.gov
TDOE, TSIN Announce 27 Tennessee Schools Receive STEM/STEAM Designations
88 Total STEM/STEAM-Designated Schools Statewide
Nashville, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) announced 27 schools have received the Tennessee STEM/STEAM School Designation for 2022. Starting this school year, schools could either apply for a STEM or STEAM Designation through the designation rubric. Schools that sought to apply for the STEAM Designation emphasized the integration of the arts in their STEM application.
The honor recognizes schools for preparing students for postsecondary and future career success by committing to promote STEM and/or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) learning for their students. In alignment with Governor Bill Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative, the designation program is working towards his goal to triple the number of STEM/STEAM- designated schools in Tennessee.
“With strong momentum for STEM and STEAM education being seen across the state with the number of designated schools continuing to grow, we are thrilled to continue highlighting the state’s emphasis on ensuring students are prepared for future success in their educational pathways and also in their careers,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn.
Since the designation program launched in 2018, 88 schools have earned the Tennessee STEM/STEAM Designation, which the department developed in partnership with the STEM Leadership Council to provide a “roadmap” for schools to successfully implement a STEM and/or STEAM education plan at the local level. Schools that receive this honor also serve as models to inspire and teach others. All K–12 schools serving students in Tennessee are eligible.
“Schools that earn STEM Designation incorporate strong STEM teaching and learning experiences that rest on inquiry, technology integration, work-based learning, and project/problem-based learning strategies tied to the world around us,” said Brandi Stroecker, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network Director. “Each school has a unique STEM program yet incorporates a similar approach by providing cross-curricular teaching practices where students apply the concepts they are learning. The network appreciates these schools as they are providing students with learning experiences that shape their aspirations for the future.”
Each school that received the Tennessee STEM/STEAM School Designation underwent a rigorous application process, including completing a self-evaluation, participating in interviews, and hosting site visits with the Tennessee STEM/STEAM Designation review team. The designation rubric included five focus areas: infrastructure, curriculum and instruction, professional development, achievement, and community and postsecondary partnerships. As a part of the process, schools were also required to
submit a plan of action for implementing and sustaining STEM and/or STEAM education for the next five years.
From the review process, a total of 27 schools received the Tennessee STEM/STEAM School Designation for 2022:
School leaders are thrilled to receive this honor, which underscores the importance of STEM/ STEAM education.“This designation carries three important messages with it for our school. First, it’s an acknowledgement that the hard work of our students, faculty, and staff is exemplary and worthy of recognition at the state level. Because of the designation, we know that we have done and will continue to do top-notch STEAM learning at Salem and that our high standards matter. Second, it gives us the opportunity to collaborate with other STEM-designated schools, to learn from their work and experiences and continue to improve our own,” said Kimberly Kahle, STEM Lead Teacher at Salem Elementary School, Murfreesboro City Schools. “Our folks believe that a mindset of continuous improvement matters – a lot – and we’re thrilled what we can learn from the new connections we’ll make because of the designation. Third, this designation allows us to share what we have learned with other schools who are interested in providing
similar experiences for their students. We are both thrilled and humbled to be a part of a network of like-minded schools and have the chance to help scale out this type of learning for more students in Tennessee.”
“We are so excited and honored to receive the STEM Designation. It is a recognition of the commitment, work-ethic, and dedication of our district, community, and especially our staff to enhance the educational experience for our students while attending Northview Middle School,” said Lynn Garner, Principal at Northview Middle School, Dyer County Schools. “We feel this process has heightened our awareness to the skills and mindset needed to prepare our students for an ever- changing world.”
“The STEAM Designation solidifies that we are doing what is best for student learning. It reinforces the programs, lessons and learning at Arlington High are aligned with what is best for students,” said Shawna Segerson, STEAM Lead Teacher at Arlington High School, Arlington Community Schools. “The Designation showcases that every classroom in our building is providing the opportunity for the Thinking Process to be used and encourages our students to become thinkers. Obtaining the STEAM Designation means we will continue to be a STEM hub for others in our community to share our successes, learningmoments and resources.”
STEM/STEAM education is an interdisciplinary curriculum in which activities in one class complement those in other classes. It also offers teaching and learning opportunities focused on inquiry, technology, and project-based learning activities and lessons connected to the real world.