MNPS is establishing the state’s first STEM network anchored in the Stratford Cluster. This STEM network began at Stratford High School in August of 2010, with the establishment of the Stratford Academy of Science and Engineering. The Stratford Academy of Science and Engineering is currently being developed in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Science Outreach and Peabody College’s STEM Outreach Center. The educational design of STEM centers on inquiry-based learning and project-based curriculum with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM curriculum is applied to real-world constructs that offer students the ability to conceptualize and experience the alignment of curriculum content to hands-on, experiential practice.
Race to the Top funds, in combination with funds provided by a Magnet School Assistance Program grant, provide for curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development for faculty, as well as STEM-related equipment and materials. Equipment and materials include the outfitting of a state-of-the-art engineering lab with adjacent lecture hall, a hands-on science lab with adjacent lecture hall and a project / research room for students working independently. Additionally, a video conference system will be installed within the academy to allow students direct access to scientists and engineers at Vanderbilt and around the world. This conference system will also allow Stratford teachers direct access to professional development with the long-term goal of delivering professional development to other schools in the district and in the statewide STEM Network.
The Stratford STEM network also includes middle and elementary schools at Litton Middle School and Bailey STEM Magnet School, as well as Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary School. The elementary and middle school programs will also draw on inquiry and project-based approaches to learning in an interdisciplinary curriculum integrating science and engineering themes throughout.