Overall Creek Elementary, a Murfreesboro City School, was named a Tennessee Designated STEM School by the State of Tennessee during the STEM Innovation Summit in Nashville on May 8. The Tennessee STEM School Designation denotes that a school meets the highest standards of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) instruction and is a model for schools across the state. Overall Creek was one of only 15 schools to receive this designation by the Tennessee Department of Education.
STEM education is a unique approach to teaching and learning that fosters creativity and innovative thinking in all students. STEM is focused on building critical and creative thinking and analysis skills by addressing how students view and experience the world around them.
"I'm extremely proud of our students and staff members," says Don Bartch, Overall Creek Principal. "This designation took the vision and hard work of a dedicated group of teachers. They worked tirelessly to complete the process and tell the Overall Creek STEM story."
Overall Creek integrates STEM curriculum with project-based learning across all subject areas and programs both inside and outside the classroom. To receive this momentous designation, Overall Creek successfully completed the designation rubric including five focus areas: infrastructure, curriculum and instruction, professional development, achievement, and community and post-secondary partnerships. As a part of the process, schools were required to submit a plan of action for implementing and sustaining STEM education for the next five years. From this process, a total of 15 schools received the Tennessee STEM School Designation.
Strong STEM teaching and learning opportunities rest on inquiry, technology, and project-based learning activities and lessons that are tied to the real world. It is a diverse, interdisciplinary curriculum where activities in one class complement those in other classes.
The Overall Creek STEM team is led by Principal Don Bartch, Assistant Principal Raeshon Torres, Assistant Principal and teacher leaders Cathrine Gordon, Mallory Eaton, Katie Nanney, Erin Nunley, Cherry Ross, Tara Hatchell, Shelby Jones, Elizabeth Owens and Lea Bartch.
"I am very excited about Overall Creek receiving this well-deserved honor. The school is engaged in experiential, real-world learning, with full connections across content areas, linking today's STEAM learning to tomorrow's workforce," says Dr. Linda Gilbert, Director of Schools. "STEM learning at Overall Creek extends to each child from kindergarten through sixth grade, fully integrating project-based learning into all subjects throughout the day, and allowing students to be exposed to different STEM professions at an early age so they can see all possibilities."
The Tennessee STEM School Designation was developed to provide a "roadmap" for schools to successfully implement a STEM education plan at the local level. The Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee STEM Innovation Network developed tools and resources to define the attributes of a comprehensive STEM learning environment for students. Schools that receives the Tennessee STEM School Designation are recognized by the Tennessee Department of Education for their use of STEM teaching and learning strategies and serve as a model from which other schools may visit and learn. All K-12 schools serving students in Tennessee are eligible.
Overall Creek opened in 2014-15 school year and boasts over 1,000 kindergarten through 6th grade students. With its unique location, adjacent to a creek and woodland area, Overall Creek features two outdoor classrooms and a successful Farm to School program. Murfreesboro City Schools is a district of twelve schools committed to the academic and personal success of each child.