Contributed by Alabama School of Mathematics and Science
The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science (ASMS) is now one of the only STEM-certified high schools in Alabama. ASMS has been preparing for Cognia STEM Certification since the fall of 2020, and last week a Cognia review team completed an official evaluation of the school. According to Cognia, STEM Certification facilitates “organizational improvement that results in future readiness for all learners,” and is based on research and evidence-based practices.
“As the Alabama legislature emphasizes strengthening STEM education and supporting STEM educators in our state, ASMS is dedicated to doing the same,” said President of ASMS, Dr. John Hoyle. “The landscape of education and career readiness is changing rapidly, so STEM excellence is no longer just about having strong science, technology, engineering and math programs. Becoming a Cognia STEM-certified school validates ASMS’s holistic approach to student success while illuminating the innovative approaches we need to keep our students at the forefront of their fields.”
ASMS had to demonstrate their performance in 16 standards within separate Cognia frameworks. The STEM Certification review team for Cognia evaluated more than 300 pages of information prepared by the school, including longitudinal data, survey results, projects, programs, plans, anecdotes, photos and videos. In addition, 56 ASMS school community members participated in interviews with the review team.
“My greatest take away from the Cognia STEM Certification process is that being an excellent STEM school extends beyond the traditional definition of STEM,” said Director of ASMS Admissions and Outreach, Ken Robinson. “It means we are progressing in areas like creating a pipeline from K-12 to STEM careers, exposing students to college content and environments, engaging underrepresented students, challenging students with complex and conceptual content and much more. In other words, STEM is part of everything we do here at ASMS.”
In the final feedback meeting with the school, Cognia director of STEM Services who oversees the national STEM Certification program, Scott Davidson, noted that he had reviewed 80 plus schools throughout his career, and ASMS is a school that will always stand out in his mind as high performing with approaches that other schools or systems can incorporate to benefit their own educational objectives.
About ASMS: The Alabama School of Mathematics and Science is the state’s only fully public and residential high school for sophomores, juniors and seniors seeking advanced studies in math, science, computer science and the humanities. ASMS is a research-focused learning community committed to innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration and diversity with an aim to empower motivated Alabama students to improve their community, state and nation. Tuition, room and board are free. Learn more at asms.net.