Blue Ridge, Ga. – What do you do after becoming the 36th school in the state, and the 4th in North Georgia to become STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) certified by the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE)? You set your next goal and always move forward.
West Fannin Elementary School (WFES) is doing just that by moving forward to obtain STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics) certification.
Much like the STEM certification this will require multiple site visits from representatives with the GDOE along with a lengthy observance of the school’s ability create a STEAM centered environment and the students’ grasp and enthusiasm over what is being taught.
“They know of our timeline,” WFES Principal Lucas Roof said explaining that the school had already notified the GDOE of their intent. “They know of our dreams.”
The school set a lofty goal of becoming STEAM certified by Spring 2020.
“Our plan is to be STEAM certified by that point,” Roof said explaining the goal but adding having recently been through the process with STEM certification he understands that it could take longer. “If not next Spring, then I would like to see us get it the Spring after that. So Spring of 2020 or 2021.”
Incorporating the arts into a scientifically driven criteria can be a challenge unto itself. Lucas described it as “a challenge because it is another layer” and said that the challenge comes in striking a balance with all the different studies.
Lucas has confidence in his staff to meet the school’s goal: “Luckily we have Ben Sexton, who is our art teacher and also our music teacher and drama teacher. He’s done a great job of continuing to collaborate with all of our homeroom teachers to make sure that we get the art standards and show how we can layer in and incorporate the art standards into what we are already doing with STEM.”
WFES showcased their drive to move forward on Tuesday, Feb. 5 by hosting their annual Upcycling STEAM Fair at the school. This event, hosted in the past as a STEM event, moved to add extra focus on the arts component of the assignment.
Students in the third, fourth, and fifth grades along with teachers participated in the judged event and in true upcycling fashion created masterpieces from materials that had been previously discarded.
Five judges analyzed every submission and then deliberated to choose the evening’s winners. The judges looked for creative reuse of materials, originality, and functionality of the finished product.
“The judges, we had to collaborate, and it was tough,” Roof spoke before declaring the winners. “We had to put a lot of thought into this.”
First, second, and third places were announced for each grade level and winners each received prize money. The prize money was provided by the WFES Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and special thanks was given to them for helping to make the event possible.
WFES also held a silent auction for the night where bidders got to participate in hopes of bringing home their favorite creation. The best part of the silent auction, as Roof pointed out, is that “all the money from the bidding is going to go back into the STEM program”.
Roof reflected on the Upcycling STEAM Fair, “When it comes to a night like this, we could not make it without everyone working together as a team. We have magnificent students, teachers, parents, and community members at West Fannin, and I cannot thank them enough.”
Up next for WFES is an open house event scheduled for March 12. This event will play host to students, faculty, parents, and educators. While in the past this open house was STEM themed, this year WEFS is presenting a revamped STEAM centered event.
There is undeniable enthusiasm as educators at West Fannin Elementary School discuss the goals set to obtain in the upcoming year, and no doubt that the staff and students will work diligently to achieve these dreams.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]