Just before spring break, students and staff of Oak Ridge Schools were honored by local- and state-level politicians in the the Oak Ridge High School auditorium on Friday, March 9th, to celebrate our distinction as the first AdvancED STEM certified district in Tennessee, and only the second worldwide. AdvancED calls the STEM certification a mark of distinction and excellence that provides our institution a research-based framework and criteria for awareness, continuous improvement, and assessment of the quality, rigor and substance of our STEM educational programs.

Because we emphasize every subject area in our STEM definition (Students, Teachers, Energizing Minds), with emphasis on the 4Cs of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking, we wanted to exhibit student talent within the event. Included in the celebration were the musical performances from orchestra, choir, and band, presentation of the colors by our JROTC, student artwork, and displays of hands-on projects, work-based learning, and other activities in which our students participate. The arts & A/V communications department digitally displayed student work on a state-of-the-art holographic screen. The 4Cs logo created by digital arts student, Hannah Yaun took center stage on the presenters’ podium.

Mr. McDonald at podium AV Communications holographic displayDr. Borchers at podium

Principal Martin McDonald, Superintendent Bruce Borchers, Deputy Commissioner of Education, Vicki Kirk, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, and Tennessee State Representative John Ragan Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, and Oak Ridge Reservation Deputy Manager Geoffrey deBeauclair, all gave presentations. Oak Ridge Board of Education members were present, including Keys Fillauer, Angi Agle, Laura McLean, and Bob Eby. A common theme was that Oak Ridge was founded in innovation 75 years ago, and it is evident our city continues its commitment to the value of a rich STEM education for our students.