District Five high school receives prestigious STEM recertification

A School District Five high school is among the first in the nation to receive prestigious recertification for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program.

Dutch Fork High School’s STEM magnet program has earned recertification for the next five years from Cognia, a globally recognized school improvement, assessment and certification organization.

“We are very proud to have the Dutch Fork High School STEM magnet program be among the first in the country to successfully recertify as a Cognia STEM program,” said Dutch Fork High School principal Dr. Gerald Gary. “The recognition is a tribute to the ongoing, excellent work and effort on the parts of our teachers, students, and families. We are excited to continue our partnership with Cognia and look forward to our program’s continuous growth and improvement.”

Ranked 25th in the nation by Newsweek, The STEM program at Dutch Fork High School is an honors magnet program that accelerates and enriches learning experiences for students who are academically gifted and have an interest in a STEM related major and career. Students are accepted into the program based on their standardized test scores, middle school teachers’ recommendations, and interest in STEM related fields.

Cognia’s STEM certification has widely been considered as being reserved for those schools providing next-level programs. Less than 200 schools nationwide have the accreditation. The certification process is comprehensive, evaluating organizations on the learning experiences of students, the quality and training of staff, and the participation of community and industry partners to ensure real-world integration.

“It’s a significant mark of distinction for the STEM magnet program at Dutch Fork High School to achieve this certification,” said School District Five Chief Instructional Officer Michael Guliano. “It demonstrates to the community the school’s commitment to excellence, and openness to external review and feedback, and the desire to be the best they can be on behalf of the students they serve.”

Officials with Cognia noted that interviews with five stakeholder groups, an evidence portfolio, student exhibitions & demonstrations, and short classroom observations provided a
platform for the school to share its story, mission, & model in being committed to a process of continual improvement with its STEM Magnet Program.

“Through a combination of this, the external evaluator was able to conclude that it continues to plan & execute meaningful STEM teaching & learning experiences that equip students with the necessary knowledge & skills to be thoughtful & engaged citizens prepared to take on the leadership challenges of the 21st century,” Dr. Trevor Ivey, Cognia STEM evaluator said.

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, the group serves 36,000 institutions supports nearly 25 million students and five million educators every day.

Learn more at https://www.cognia.org.