Stem Magnet School Becoming Reality

Published on June 21, 2012
Category: News & Politics
Source: Youtube

by John PlessWhile most public school teachers are enjoying the summer break some are working hard to prepare for the opening of a revolutionary new school. It's Hamilton County's newest magnet school that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math -- also called STEM.In the back of the same building that's home to the Wacker Institute at Chattanooga State Community College workers are busy finishing Hamilton County's newest magnet school. It opens in August with a freshman class of 75 students in the STEM program.Six teachers have been chosen to lead an all-new way of preparing students for the future. One of them is Allison Fuller-Mulloy, who formerly taught at Signal Mountain Middle-High. "Oh, so exciting, just really being excited from the moment I heard about the school and position," Fuller-Mulloy said.There won't be any textbooks. There won't be the traditional tests that measure how well students memorize content either. Instead, students will get iPads to download instruction that focuses on critical thinking and problem solving.Dr. Tony Donen, STEM Principal, said "when we're focused on problem solving we'll focus on key foundation specifics of scientific method and critical thinking like looking at the higher level of analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating on a daily basis and kids applying that in a way that's meaningful."Nearly -million in grants are getting STEM going in Hamilton County. It's already been applied in Nashville and Knoxville. Dr. Donen was chosen from Williamson County to lead STEM here."The way technology is moving, the speed and rate it is moving, we have to prepare them to be ready to take on that new challenge," Dr. Donen said. "We have to prepare them to learn, un-learn and re-learn what it is that's important to be successful in the workforce and in order to do that you have got to have a basic background and understanding of the STEM concepts."To round out the STEM curriculum students will pick up other courses like language arts at neighboring Chattanooga State."We're hoping we're going to serve as an incubator so we can try out new things, see what works, find new strategies and hopefully share those to be implemented in other schools," Fuller-Mulloy said.The STEM curriculum will be rolled out in other schools not just in Hamilton County but in school districts in southeast Tennessee.Each year a new freshman class of 75 students will be added so in four years the STEM magnet school will reach it's maximum of 300 students.