The Cobb County School District certified Mabry Middle School’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program in early 2017, but that wasn’t enough for Mabry staff. A few months later, Mabry Middle School earned international AdvancED STEM certification for the entire school.
Mabry is the first secondary school in Georgia and one of a few nationwide, to achieve AdvancED certification for the whole school, rather than for an individual program.
“Our inclusive approach is certainly a more challenging pathway, but one we felt compelled to pursue, as it reflects our beliefs about preparing all students for success in a world we can only imagine,” Principal Merrilee Heflin said in a letter to Mabry parents and students.
AdvancED STEM certification is valid for five years and serves as the internationally recognized mark of quality for STEM schools and programs. To achieve the certification, Mabry staff tackled a rigorous process of self-assessment and strategic planning related to the AdvancED STEM framework.
“It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience, not just for the sake of an award, but because in the process, it has affirmed all the wonderful aspects of Mabry we have achieved together: an outstanding culture, innovative technology and real-world problem solving focus, engaged students who take pride in their school, parents and partners who go the extra mile to support our school, and last, but certainly not least, our amazing teachers,” explained Principal Heflin.
During the certification process, the AdvancED team visited Mabry classrooms and interviewed students, parents, teachers and school partners.
“My heart swelled when I sat in on the parent interviews, hearing the solid support and affirmations of their students’ foundational experience at Mabry, and how that has prepared them for the future,” Principal Heflin told the school community in her letter about Mabry achieving AdvancED STEM certification.
The AdvancED team referred to Mabry’s teachers as the school’s most significant strength. The school’s review noted that Mabry STEM teachers and leaders participate in a continuous program of STEM-specific professional learning.
The review team also praised Mabry students for working independently and collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment, speaking and acting respectfully, and demonstrating positive attitudes about the classroom and learning.
“Please join me in thanking our teachers, and congratulating our entire community for this outstanding work,” Principal Heflin asked in her letter.