Bulldog Families,

    It is with great pride that I get to share news with you about our STEM program here at York. As you may know, in 2016 we were awarded and then again in 2020 STEM School of Distinction status. This year we wanted to set the bar higher working to attain the next level status = MODEL. It takes a massive lift during this process as everyone works together to collect artifacts, write application paragraphs, and ensure that we hit all of the application rubric components.

    Last week Wednesday was our site visit from the NC Department of Public Instruction as they wanted to see for themselves what we had written about in our application so they could make a decision about the Distinction level status. We pulled out all the stops, in typical York fashion, and were ready with student showcases, worksample artifacts in hallways and collaborative spaces, classroom lesson walk-through visits, student/staff/community partner/parent panels to talk first hand about STEM at York, and a guided tour from Coach O. of what STEM looks like at York. Today we recieved notice about our application status and here is what reviewers from DPI had to share about York.

    "Thank you for hosting such a gracious, well-organized, and AMAZING site visitation experience. During the visit, the reviewers had the opportunity to learn more about the school’s STEM education vision. This communication is to share with you the final feedback and recommendation submitted by the STEM application review team. Reflected are reviewer final comments and attached you will find the Final Scoring PDF which, overall, indicates:

        No Key Elements were identified as Early

        No Key Elements were identified as Developing

        1 Key Element was identified as Prepared 

        19 Key Elements were identified as Model 

        Each Overarching Principle averaged equal to or above a 3.75

    The review team absolutely loved witnessing the positive STEM culture throughout the school. The team identified the building as "Everything you'd expect in a STEM school; in a powerful way!" Student work was incredibly celebrated. With projects on display in nearly every open space, the work showcased student engagement, hands-on experiences, and real-world, problem-based application of content. The 'students first' focus was highly apparent and the enthusiasm amongst the students and teachers was contagious! The team greatly appreciated seeing the buy-in that exists amongst all staff and it was noted that the support from the school administration and leadership, for both students and staff, was undeniable. Ultimately, it is the uncompromising belief of your STEM administration that holds place as the backbone to the school's many STEM successes. 

    The team also reported appreciation for the opportunity to see the foundation of diverse parental involvement and community connections that have been established. The team offers as an area for future growth, that these connections serve as opportunities for enhanced professional development and applied learning opportunities for teachers, which would lead to the enhancement of the great work that is already happening in the classrooms.

    We are pleased to recommend York Elementary School to the State Board of Education (SBE)

    to be identified as a North Carolina Model STEM School of Distinction! 

    We look forward to honoring you and your STEM program before the SBE at the State Board of Education meeting in the Fall. On behalf of the review team, congratulations to you, the faculty, your students, and the entire school community!"

    Please join me in celebrating this extraordinary accomplishment for our school community! More to come as we prepare for the celebration at the state level in the fall. I could not be more proud to be a part of this school community. It takes a village and we have the BEST village for sure! #STEMLife


    Kate Williams, Principal