DeSales High School has earned the coveted status as a STEM certified school following a rigorous, yearlong review by AdvancED™, an organization affiliated with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools™ (SACS).
The designation makes DeSales only the second school overall in Kentucky to complete the certification process, and the only school in the state serving boys.
AdvancED describes STEM Certification as “a mark of excellence that provides institutions a research-based framework and criteria for awareness, continuous improvement and assessment of the quality, rigor and substance of their STEM educational program.”
The review team made note of DeSales’ collaborative style of teaching, its community outreach projects with Louisville Metro Public Works, Hexion Chemical, and the Kentucky Science Center, and its long-standing dedication to the use of technology in the classroom. In 2004, DeSales was the first high school in the area to launch a 1:1 technology device program, equipping every student and teacher with an IBM Thinkpad.
“Because we had spent time examining the evidence provided prior to the on-site visit, we expected to see some great things happening at DeSales,” said Dr. David Barnett, AdvancED Lead Evaluator. “We were not disappointed. As the team interviewed students, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders it became apparent that there were special and significant things happening at DeSales. Observations in the classroom verified that students were involved in identifying and solving real-world problems, with their teachers providing the guidance and support needed to tackle inquiry-based learning.
“The leaders and educators at DeSales are to be commended for envisioning an environment where students are not just preparing for success at the next level, they’re experiencing that success through partnerships with a variety of external stakeholders.”
Principal Anastasia Quirk praised the faculty for their commitment to incorporate STEM throughout the curriculum and shared that plans are already underway to extend the school’s STEM outreach further.
“For us, STEM school certification not only recognizes and affirms the way we are affecting 21st Century learning, but it also raises our awareness about how we can best provide young men the tools they need to succeed at the next level. Ongoing dialogue with new community partners will help us determine how we can engage our students in unique opportunities that challenge them in a variety of cross-disciplinary ways.
“Our STEM approach is formalized in our strategic technology plan, which incorporates all students in STEM learning and emphasizes continuous STEM develop at the faculty level. It is truly a whole-school approach.”
Read more about AdvancED STEM Certification at http://www.advanc-ed.org/services/stem-certification.