Gov. Ivey tours 1st elementary STEM innovation lab in River Region

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As the state continues to work to improve its math scores, introducing STEM programs in early grade levels is one of the ways leaders are trying to do so. Gov. Kay Ivey visited a Montgomery elementary school to experience its brand-new STEM lab. The only one in the River Region for students that young.

“When I was in the fourth grade, we didn’t build robots,” said Ivey.

Instead of times tables and rulers, students at Dalriada Elementary School are learning more than just basic math in their new STEM innovation lab.

“We want them to learn collaboration, teamwork, skills that they need to be successful within the workforce when they leave here,” said principal Dr. Bryan Cutter.

And that’s the goal for students across the state. Several STEM programs already exist, but only two operate with state funds and partnerships. One in Birmingham City Schools and the other at Dalriada Elementary in Montgomery.

“The biggest challenge is actually finding the teachers and getting them qualified to lead the work,” said State Superintendent Eric Mackey.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” said Ivey. “But we need to understand what it takes to get there and press on.”

The next steps are to expand to Selma city schools. Mackey says the existing STEM programs have already helped improve the overall state’s math scores.

“We’re already seeing things get better,” said Mackey. “We’re going to in a few weeks be releasing our math scores from this past spring. And they’re going to be up.”

There is $3 million in the state’s education fund for computer science programs, and Mackey says we could see STEM labs in more elementary schools in about four years.

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