10/10/12 — Wayne School of Engineering recognized

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Wayne School of Engineering recognized

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 10, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne School of Engineering is one of 12 STEM schools in the country chosen for a study to determine strategies that have attributed to its success as a school focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

A research team funded by the National Science Foundation recently paid a visit to the school as part of a research study, titled "Opportunities Structures for Preparation and Inspiration," officials said. The team consisted of members from George Washington University, George Mason University and the Stanford Research Institute. WSE was the second school chosen for the study, partly because of its selection process, which includes a lottery selection process regardless of the students' academic or socioeconomic status.

"Wayne School of Engineering really stood out among other schools across the country," states Dr. Erin Peters Burton, OSPrI co-principal investigator. "Some STEM schools only accept the very best and the brightest. We wanted to better understand how a school like this one can be so successful within its current design, and then highlight those areas of strength as a model for other schools."

The school, introduced in Wayne County Public Schools in the fall of 2007 on the campus of Goldsboro High School, added a middle school grades component this year.

This past school year, officials said the school had a 91.5 performance composite, met 100 percent of its annual measurable objectives and had a 98 percent graduation rate.

"Our Board of Education and administration understands the value of STEM education in regards to college and workforce readiness," said Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent. "In recent years, our district has successfully implemented and sustained various programs and initiatives that have STEM focuses, such as our career academies, STEM Learning Centers, Microsoft Academies and specialized career and technical education courses and clubs.

"The Wayne School of Engineering, which was a home-grown initiative, exemplifies how some students are able to benefit from a non-traditional school environment with a clearly defined STEM focus."

Dr. Burton was also complimentary of the program.

"The feel of the school, it is like a home or a family, and we felt so welcome," she said. "The teachers are so collaborative. It is not just science teachers planning with other science teachers, but there are teachers of all different areas collaborating together and strengthening the curriculum."

As the school system works to expand STEM learning tools and research based teaching practices to other schools, administrators attribute successes to the vision and hard work of staff along with the support of various partnerships.

"Our district has been proactive in working to sustain and expand STEM programs by seeking grants and governmental funding, cultivating and maintaining relationships with area businesses and industries, and collaborating with community partners like Wayne Community College, Mount Olive College and East Carolina University," Taylor said. "Recognizing that the Wayne School of Engineering has positioned itself as a national model, it is clear that the district's efforts in the area of STEM are in line with the state and nation's educational shift to STEM education."