STEM Center a School of Distinction

Published 11:59 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

Just over 100 members of the Class of 2016 left their middle schools four years ago and embraced a bold, new challenge: They became the first class within a new educational option for high school students in the county, the Davie High School STEM Center.

Now, they face their graduation and anticipate their next steps into post-secondary settings.

In this fourth year of the program, The STEM Center at Davie High not only graduates its first class, but also celebrates its recognition as a STEM School of Distinction by North Carolina.

The STEM Center at Davie High, along with seven other schools in the state, was honored at the N.C. State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh, June 2.  Four STEM Center teachers, Donna Dunn, Keith Richter, Yvette Shore, Cherri White; principal,  Doyle Nicholson; and superintendent, Dr. Darrin Hartness, accepted the recognition on behalf of the center.

The STEM recognition process required not only hours of program development including in-depth professional development for Center teachers, but also a rigorous state application process. Davie High was required to provide extensive evidence to prove 40 key elements that define a solid STEM program.

In April after the applications were reviewed,  DHS was one of eight schools in the state granted a site visit during which reviewers asked questions, observed classes, and met with students, teachers, and community stakeholders.  Davie High received positive feedback immediately with official word following:  Recognition at the Prepared level for the program and at the Model level for its Teacher Leadership Model.

Reviewers commented that it is unusual to see a program as young as the high school’s to be granted the recognition. In fact, only 27 schools in the state have been recognized as STEM Schools of Distinction within the last four years.

Davie County Schools offers several options for rising ninth graders to best fit learning needs of students. Families are invited to choose from among those options including Davie High School, Davie High School STEM Center, and Davie County Early College.

As the Davie High STEM program continues to grow, the rising freshmen from the class of 2020 will become a part of a program of more than 580 students and 22 teachers.  The Davie County Alliance for STEM Education and the Mebane Foundation have supported the center the past two years.

The Center continues to build partnerships, to provide real-world experiences, connect students to professionals, and insist that students be courageous and adventurous learners.