Clark Creek Elementary School, the district’s newest campus, greeted 873 kindergarten through sixth-grade students in the gymnasium for a schoolwide pep rally, featuring a live bird presentation by Buster Brown with the Georgia Falconry Association to represent the schools’ mascot, the RedHawks.
“We thought it would be a great way to bring the two communities from Boston and Oak Grove (elementary schools) together,” Principal Dr. Jennifer Scrivner said. “I think it made kids realize, ‘Hey, I’m a RedHawk now!’ It will give them something really fun to go home and share with their parents.”
Scrivner said the first day at the new school went off virtually without a hitch, other than a few students arriving late due to some of the hub buses running behind schedule. The hub busing process has been implemented by the school district for all six academies to allow students throughout the county to attend their preferred school.
“Other than that, the day went really well,” Scrivner said. “The transportation department has been great in working with us.”
Scrivner said the school is wasting no time in jumping into STEM initiatives, with 494 third- through fifth-grade students having the opportunity to participate in several laboratory programs within the first 10 days of school.
The school has a STEM laboratory, where students get to design and build their own robotic creations with LEGO products, as well as a math lab, where students can participate in various STEM-related activities including roller coaster-themed physics projects and studying the pH balance of water.
“The teachers all have special lesson plans designed around the engineering process and engineering design,” Scrivner said. “That’s for the first week, to really work on the design process.”
Students also got a sneak peek of Clark Creek’s global classroom at the meet-and-greet night. The global classroom is a videoconferencing system that all Cherokee STEM Academies will use to interact with science and engineering professionals, other students or anyone else throughout the world with the same capability.
Scrivner said students were able to see fellow STEM Academy children at Ball Ground, Holly Springs and Canton on the 72-inch screen throughout the meet-and-greet.
“We think it has amazing potential to be a really cool learning experience,” Scrivner said. “There’s a potential there to link all STEM schools so we can all determine ways in which kids can share and collaborate.”
Beyond that, Scrivner said the district’s goal is to get all teachers certified through the district’s STEM 21 program by the end of the year.
Letitia Cline, assistant superintendent of Educational Programs, said teachers will spend 10 and a half hours over about 35 weeks to attain the certification to make them better prepared to teach STEM principles to students.
“STEM is about continuing to build students’ higher-order thinking skills,” Cline said. “These skills are important for the future workforce to be marketable. It will prepare our students to be lifelong learners and ready for careers.”
Scrivner said much of the credit should go toward Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo and the school board for their support in the efforts toward building a strong science curriculum for every STEM Academy.
“I’m so thankful the board has offered us this opportunity to get elementary students ready for these frontier careers,” Scrivner said.