All eight Columbia County middle schools offer a full range of engaging learning opportunities that address the needs of the whole child. Whether it is core classes or career connections, athletics or extracurricular activities, the purpose of the middle schools is to challenge students to grow academically, athletically, artistically and socially, preparing them for the world of work.
One of the exciting ways we are meeting this challenge is our focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, as it prepares students to work in fields desperately needed in the future. STEM education encourages a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions.Our district goal is for each middle school to earn state STEM program certification, a comprehensive process which involves math, science and technology integration through the implementation of the Engineering Design Process.
Schools work together with our Partners in Education collaboratively on ProblemBased Learning projects that connect the curriculum with real-world problems. Students are actively involved in hands-on projects that require research and formal presentations. With this model, students are actively engaged in the activities they read about and are able to increase their range of technical skill and problem-solving ability. Problem-based study using a variety of research strategies, group activities and independent work allows students to pursue their individual interests and to learn from area school partners in education.
Columbia County School District students in each middle school participate in STEM competitions like the E-Cybermission Challenge and extracurricular clubs such as Science Olympiad and Academic Bowl. Because of the emphasis on interdisciplinary instruction, Fine Arts, English-Language Arts, and Social Studies are infused in our STEM programs and activities. Through our STEM instruction, we are advancing STEM careers for all students, opening up possibilities that they may not have considered. We are very proud of our district STEM initiative as it creates a highly engaged, learning environment for Columbia County middle school students!