In just three years, Forsyth Central High School’s STEM Academy has gone from a new program to the best in the state.
The Technology Association of Georgia and its education collaborative have presented the school with the 2013 Georgia High School STEM Education Award.
Assistant Principal Kim Head said everyone involved with STEM — short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — made the honor possible, including the seven teachers and 117 students enrolled.
“I actually went around all the classrooms … and shared the awards with them and talked to them about being a part of this award,” Head said. “Our teachers have worked hard, but our students have worked hard too.
“It’s not just one person, it’s not just one subject area, it’s all of us.”
Head, who attended the award ceremony, said she was thrilled when Central’s program won, noting the competition included “a lot of programs that have been established a lot longer than we have.”
“We were very excited beceause we knew there was a lot of stiff competition,” she said. “The finalists all had fabulous programs as well, so we knew it was going to be a tough call for the judges.”
Forsyth School Superintendent Buster Evans said the system is “extremely proud of our STEM Academy.”
“The teachers at Forsyth Central have created a lighthouse program for the nation that is providing outstanding science, technology, engineering and mathematical instruction in the classroom and professional opportunities with strong community partners,” Evans said.
The academy is a merit-based program with strict application requirements and rigorous course plans. Students who complete the program can earn Advanced Placement credits and complete internships, both with local industries and research universities.
All students enrolled in Central’s STEM program must complete a pathway in either biotechnology or engineering. Some students opt for both.
They will also participate in a variety of competitions, including the Science Olympiad, Science Fair, Design Challenge, BEST Robotics, MATE Robotics, and VEX Robotics competitions.
Head said the program is also rigorous and full of high expectations. It integrates STEM training across all subjects and academic areas. As for the honor, she said the fact the school has done so much “in such a short period of time helped us.”