Friday , 15 December 2017
Breaking News

NCMS Embraces STEM Focus for 2015-16 School Year

NCMS STEM Team at NCCAT in December 2014

NCMS STEM Team at NCCAT in December 2014

Did you know that currently in Catawba County, there are over 3,000 vacant jobs in manufacturing available, but workers are not skilled to fill the positions?  These jobs range anywhere from $14-$28 per hour – that’s $28,000 – $60,000 per year.  Many of these jobs do not require a four-year degree.  Careers have changed, and student needs have changed as well.  How and what we teach students must shift in order for us to ensure students are future-ready.  NCMS has accepted this challenge!

From December 15-19, 2014, a group of teachers, leaders, and consultants traveled to NCCAT for a week of deep learning and collaborating about how to work together to transform NCMS into a STEM middle school over a four-year implementation beginning during the 2015-16 school year.   Each member of the team brought a unique perspective into the conversation, and the team experienced an incredible week of learning together, engaging in a variety of STEM activities, and learning more about how a successful STEM program will better prepare students for college and career options.  Newton-Conover Middle School teachers will be learning more about how the STEM shift will ensure students have more opportunities for inquiry-based and hands-on learning.

The NCMS STEM Team includes:  Kim Kaylor, Principal; Jessica Luby, Assistant Principal; Gary Towery, CTE Coordinator; Kelly Cannon, teacher; Marty Isenhour, teacher; Nate Shafer, teacher; Amanda Crouch, teacher; Ashley Flowers, teacher; Scottie White, teacher; Amy Bradley, Director of The Patterson Science Center – consultant; and Heather Mullins, Chief Academic Officer

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Some may ask, “What about English and Social Studies and even the Arts?”  STEM is designed to meet the needs of the 21st century workforce.  English and social studies do not lose their place in the classroom, and no class time is removed from these core subjects, but teams can work together to find opportunities for cross-curricular instruction – a process good teachers have always considered.  Furthermore, the skills students learn in English are significant in STEM-based learning.  Likewise, historical and real-world community problems that are studied in social studies are often the linchpin in STEM learning scenarios.  Since NCMS already has a strong arts-based emphasis, there is no concern about losing ground in these areas.  STEM will only strengthen our middle school and provide our students with greater opportunities to be prepared for high school and beyond.

NCMS will partner with North Carolina New Schools Project – “North Carolina New Schools is a nonprofit professional services agency focused on developing high-performing schools and districts to ensure that all students graduate ready for college, careers and life.

NC New Schools helps teachers, principals and administrators engage and motivate students toward increasingly higher levels of achievement to prepare them for success in an ever-changing world. We partner with educators in local schools and districts to design new and more effective approaches to teaching, learning and leading in sync with the sweeping changes transforming the education landscape.”  To learn more about NC New Schools, click here.

We are extremely excited about the amazing opportunities that we are going to be able to provide for our students and teachers.   If you have questions about the STEM initiative at NCMS, contact Heather Mullins, Chief Academic Officer.

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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