Pike County Schools is dedicated to developing creative problem-solvers by providing high quality educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). STEM education is as an integrated curriculum (as opposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics taught in isolation) that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory project/problem-based learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. The saturation of technology in most fields means that all students – not just those who plan to pursue a STEM profession – will require a solid foundation in STEM to ready for college and career opportunities. At Pike County High School, STEM education is provided through the Agriculture Plant Science / Horticulture program of study in the Pike County STEM Academy.
Pike County STEM Academy
The first Agricultural focused program in Georgia to earn STEM certification in May of 2018, the Pike County STEM Academy strives to produce creative problem solvers who demonstrate learning through project-based adaptations of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and agriculture. Through the Engineering Design Process and interdisciplinary STEM project-based experiences, students engage in authentic problem solving, persevere through challenges, and connect their learning to the real-world.
Students in the academy experience a collaborative instruction model in which Science, Mathematics, Agriculture, and English Language Arts are taught in consecutive class periods to allow extended time for project based learning. This model is utilized during students’ freshman, sophomore, and junior year. Students’ senior year includes additional Advanced Placement courses, Dual Enrollment, or an Agricultural Research Internship at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus. The success of the internship program is a highlight of the STEM Academy. Interns’ work at UGA Griffin includes peer reviewed research, food product development, and publication in industry journals.
The first Pike County STEM Academy cohort graduated in 2016. Since their freshman year the STEM Academy has contributed to Pike County FFA’s amazing growth, from less than 100 students in 2012 to the largest FFA chapter in Georgia for the class of 2018. STEM Academy students have excelled in FFA events, earning multiple state championships and a top five finish at the 2017 National Convention.
James Stanford — STEM Academy Coordinator