Governor and Education Commissioner Announce STEM Grants

Monday, March 19, 2012 | 09:41 am

Hamilton, Putnam and Sullivan counties to open three new STEM schools

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman today announced that three new Tennessee schools focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will open in Hamilton, Putnam and Sullivan counties.

The new schools will be funded through Tennessee’s Race to the Top grant award and will be part of the education department’s statewide STEM Innovation Network, designed to increase student participation and interest in those subjects.

“Bringing together partners from across our communities to educate Tennessee students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math is so important to the future prosperity of our state,” Haslam said. “The jobs of the 21st Century require the practical, hands-on, college-oriented and career-aligned curriculum that STEM offers, and we must prepare our children to compete.”

The winning schools were chosen through a competitive grant process, and each has a STEM “hub” – a partnership between school districts, post-secondary institutions and STEM-related or innovative businesses and non-profit organizations committed to supporting STEM programs in an area – associated with it.

Funding for future STEM schools and hubs is:

Chattanooga (Southeast STEM Initiative)
To be named STEM School - $1 million
STEM Hub - $850,000

Cookeville (Upper Cumberland Rural STEM Initiative)
Prescott South - $1 million
STEM Hub - $500,000

Tri-Cities area
Northeast STEM Platform School - $1 million
East Tennessee State University STEM Hub - $500,000

Funding for current STEM schools and hubs is:

Stratford STEM Magnet High School - $2 million
Middle Tennessee STEM Hub - $850,000

L&N STEM Academy - $2 million
KARST Coalition STEM Hub - $850,000

Huffman said he believes the statewide focus on STEM will improve teaching and learning across all subjects.

“This statewide approach will improve teaching and learning across all subjects. It is not only a subject matter, but a way of teaching with a focus on active learning,” Huffman said. “Because of this, we incorporate the philosophy of STEM into all of the work we do, including our teacher evaluation model and implementation of Common Core State Standards.”

The announcement was made at Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville, where Haslam and Huffman were joined by Stratford Principal Michael Steele, Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Jesse Register, Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), chairman of the General Assembly’s STEM Education Caucus, and other state legislators.