Arkadelphia Public Schools was selected by the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to host the Senate and House Committee on Education joint meeting on Tuesday, May 6. The joint legislative committee, comprised of 40 senators and representatives from across Arkansas, will hear presentations related to national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs. Beginning at 10 A.M. in Arkadelphia High School’s Little Theater, AHS students will lead a tour of the three STEM-focused programs on their campus, which are New Tech, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and the Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) Initiative. AHS was one of the first schools in Arkansas to be actively involved in all three programs, and was one of the first districts chosen by the state to become part of the New Tech Network. Real-world application of learning, critical thinking, problem solving, and the use of modern technology are emphasized in the project-based learning environments of these programs.
“AHS is implementing New Tech, Project Lead the Way and EAST. With these programs, combined with outstanding outreach to the business community, Arkadelphia rightly deserves the ranking in the top 1 percent of the nation's high schools.”
-Artee Williams, Chair, Gov.'s Workforce Cabinet
“The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet chose Arkadelphia High School as the venue to highlight the success of STEM Works to the General Assembly,” Artee Williams, Chair of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, said. “Under the leadership of their board and administration, Arkadelphia High School is implementing New Tech, Project Lead the Way and EAST. With these programs, combined with outstanding outreach to the business community, Arkadelphia rightly deserves the ranking in the top 1 percent of the nation’s high schools.”
“We are pleased to host the House and Senate Education Committees in Arkadelphia next week,” Dr. Donnie Whitten, Superintendent of the Arkadelphia Public Schools, said. “Our students have planned an outstanding STEM showcase.”
STEM Works education models are revolutionizing the classroom experience for today’s high school students. Anyone would agree that teamwork and collaboration on projects is an important aspect of the workplace, which is why STEM programs make this a priority in the classroom.
“New Tech has allowed me to learn how to work with others and share responsibility,” Mackenzie Suggs, AHS sophomore and New Tech Ambassador, said. “Because I am learning this in high school, I am better prepared for college and my future career.”
Increased exposure to a variety of cutting-edge technologies is also a primary element of STEM Works. Often, students discover their natural talents and find more opportunities to thoroughly explore their interests in these classes.
“EAST has given me the opportunity to learn new skills with technology,” Rylee Maxwell said. Maxwell, who is also a sophomore and New Tech Ambassador at AHS, said that he has gained valuable experience with professional-grade video equipment, a green screen, and editing tools.
“These skills can help me once I get out of high school because I feel like I want to go into the film industry later. EAST has given me the opportunity to see what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.
Critical thinking in hands-on learning scenarios means students go beyond memorizing information. Instead, teachers guide students through a project, which promotes a deeper understanding of the core concepts.
“I have learned how to take the information my teachers provide, and apply it to the problem the project presents. We need to know how to solve problems, not just answer questions on a test.”
-Mackenzie Suggs, AHS sophomore & New Tech Ambassador
“I have learned how to take the information my teachers provide, and apply it to the problem the project presents. We need to know how to solve problems, not just answer questions on a test,” Suggs said.
Following the student-led tour, the legislative portion of the meeting will begin, during which the committee members will hear presentations from national and state education leaders including Williams, who will deliver an overview of STEM Works. Also on the agenda to present are New Tech Network’s Director of New School Development, Dr. Kristin Cuilla; Program Coordinator from the Arkansas Department of Career Educations for PLTW, Tim Johnston; President and CEO of EAST Initiative, Matt Dozier; and the Director of Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Shane Broadway. The agenda concludes with the presentation of the Arkansas Digital Learning Study from Dr. Ed Franklin, Chair of the Quality Digital Learning Study Committee.