Jefferson Middle School is among the first cohort of schools in the nation to undergo a rigorous internal and external review process to maintain the prestigious Cognia STEM certification and the faculty take pride in the fact Jefferson is the first school in Tennessee to receive this distinction. This certification was first earned five years ago through a rigorous process with this same entity, which was formerly called AdvancED. Interviews with five stakeholder groups, an evidence portfolio, student exhibitions and demonstrations, and short classroom observations provided a platform for the students, teachers, and administrators to share their story, mission, model, and commitment to a process of continuous improvement in STEM learning.

Jefferson Principal, Phil Cox, reflected, “The Cognia Stem Recertification process was an unbelievable experience that highlighted our continuous improvement.  Our staff, students, parents, and community partners are embedded within our STEM culture and we look forward to continuing this journey towards improving student performance and overall school effectiveness.”

The external evaluator from Cognia, Dr. Trevor Ivey, was able to conclude that through a focus on a shared leadership model, the Jefferson Middle School community “continues to plan and execute meaningful STEM teaching and learning experiences that equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be thoughtful, engaged citizens, prepared to take on the leadership challenges of the 21st century.” He observed that Jefferson Middle School is a school on the rise, and one to watch as its stakeholders continue to blaze a trail of bold innovation, putting students first.

Dr. Ivey continued, “I am pleased to recommend that Jefferson Middle School maintain its STEM certification for the next five years… you are among the first cohort of schools in the nation to successfully earn recertification.”