JONESBORO – February 10, 2016 – A cutting edge learning environment is now available to students at a Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) campus. Rex Mill Middle School has formally opened a lab that will be focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, also known as STEM, education.
On Tuesday, February 9, a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony took place for the STEM Innovations Learning Lab at Rex Mill Middle School (RMMS).
The lab, designed by RMMS students and funded through generous support of The Coca-Cola Company’s Information Technology Department, will provide space, opportunity, and resources that will allow for the design and implementation of rich STEM education for all students at the school.
While the advanced facility has a STEM focus, it will be available to all students at RMMS. “It will operate like the media center,” said Dr. Caryn Turner, Rex Mill Principal. “Teachers will be able to schedule instructional time for their students working on STEM-focused projects.”
“It’s been inspiring to be involved in the process of making this STEM Lab a reality for Rex Mill Middle School,” said Katie Dion, Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships for TAG-Education Collaborative. “We have been thrilled to work with The Coca-Cola Company’s IT Department on this project as well as the dedicated staff and students at Rex Mill.”
“The STEM Lab project at Rex Mill Middle is an excellent example of a business-school partnership,” said Dr. Pam Adamson, Clayton County Board of Education Chair. “Coca-Cola’s support helped to enable student involvement in the design of the space and made their dreams and concepts a reality.”
“We cannot begin to effectively express our appreciation for their involvement and support of this incredible endeavor,” she added.
“We thank The Coca-Cola Company Global Information Technology (GIT) Organization and the Technology Association of Georgia-Education Collaborative for their decision to collectively support Clayton County Public Schools students in the creation of a STEM Lab at Rex Mill,” said Luvenia Jackson, CCPS Superintendent. “The availability of this outstanding instructional tool will have a far-reaching positive impact for our students.”
How the STEM Lab evolved
Rex Mill Middle School submitted a proposal for an “Innovations Learning Lab” when invited to do so by the TAG-Ed and Coca-Cola Partnership. After submission, qualifying candidate schools leadership and students were interviewed. RMMS was notified shortly thereafter that they had been awarded the grant. After announcing financial support for the STEM Lab, Coca-Cola challenged RMMS students to design their visions of the lab. Dedicated Coke employees coached the students through the design process. Student designs were finalized via a review process involving panel presentations at the school and at the Coca-Cola IT Offices. The selected designs were used to construct the most feasible solution for the lab.
About Rex Mill Middle School
RMMS is the first school in Clayton County to have its STEM Academy Program awarded official STEM certification by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), and the second middle school statewide. To earn STEM certification, a school or program must utilize creative, robust instruction and strong partnerships to encourage students’ passions for science, technology, engineering and math. The school has to submit an extensive, evidence-based application showing that the program meets the rigorous criteria, such as evidence of teacher collaboration, business and industry partnerships, high levels of math and science instruction and an integrated, project-based STEM curriculum.
About Clayton County Public Schools
Clayton County Public Schools (CCPS) is fully accredited through AdvancED – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement. The district offers a focused world class program based on a challenging curriculum which is taught from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Serving over 54,400 students, Clayton County Public Schools is ranked among the 100 largest school districts in the U.S., and is the fifth largest school system in Georgia.
About TAG Education Collaborative
TAG Education Collaborative is dedicated to developing science, technology, engineering and math initiatives in Georgia. Through partnerships with statewide STEM programs, TAG-Ed fosters student interest in STEM in order to increase appreciation for the opportunities available through technology careers. For additional information, visit TAG Education Collaborative or contact Michael Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org.