SPECIAL REPORT: Strengthening STEM in schools

(Source: Mallory Schnell/WTVM)
(Source: Mallory Schnell/WTVM)
(Source: Mallory Schnell/WTVM)
(Source: Mallory Schnell/WTVM)

(WTVM) - Science, technology, engineering, and math are the subjects collectively known as "STEM."

Schools across the country are making the switch to STEM education to promote hands-on learning and improve student engagement. Storm Team 9 Meteorologist Mallory Schnell has more on STEM opportunities throughout the Valley and how students can get involved at every grade level.

"[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world," stated former President Barack Obama.

Former President Obama's quote emphasizes the importance of STEM education, now more than ever. Strength in STEM has many perks from the individual level to the global scale. These include projected job growth, higher median wages, and critical thinking – just to name a few.

In order to have more innovators, educators, and leaders, we need higher proficiency in STEM subjects with our students and teachers of every grade level.

On a global scale, the United States ranked 38th in math literacy and 24th in science literacy. This is based on a test given to 15-year-olds every three years, known as the Programme for International Student Assessment.

On a more local level, high schoolers in Alabama and Georgia fall below the national score deemed "college-ready" on both the math and science ACT.

Rather than seeing these scores as a source of defeat, teachers, and administrators throughout the Valley are using the data to better the education system. The Phenix City School District has implemented SmartLabs in all seven elementary schools. These labs encourage "hands on, minds on" learning through coding exercises, robotics, and circuitry.

And a great thing about STEM? You don't have to be at the top of the class to excel in the SmartLab.

Back in Georgia, Muscogee County teachers are working on implementing STEM curriculum as well. Dimon Magnet Academy is in the process of becoming STEM certified - a designation that has proven beneficial to schools across the state.

STEM is the hot topic in education today. It promotes skills that are beneficial not only for STEM careers but any field a student may pursue. The sky is the limit.

Here is a list of extra STEM resources:

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