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Georgia Department of Education awards STEM certification to Newton College and Career Academy, Cooper Middle School

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,   

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March 14, 2017 – The Georgia Department of Education has awarded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) certification to two schools: Newton College and Career Academy (NCCA) in Newton County and Cooper Middle School in Cobb County.

As our students enter the 21st-century economy, they must be prepared with a solid foundation of science, technology, engineering and math competencies and skills,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Newton College and Career Academy and Cooper Middle School are doing a fantastic job equipping students with those skills in an out-of-the-box, project-based environment that prioritizes and personalizes student learning.”

NCCA is the first College and Career Academy in Georgia to earn STEM certification from the GaDOE, and is also the first STEM-certified school in Newton County. Students at the school complete an engineering or biotechnology pathway as part of a program characterized by a weekly flex day that allows student choice in projects and collaboration partners. Meaningful and engaged business partners provide authentic problems for students to solve. STEM students are required to take Latin and Advanced Placement math and science coursework prior to graduation.

Cooper Middle is Cobb County’s first STEM-certified middle school. The school faculty has built in flexible time for project-based learning to occur, and math and science are blocked together for integrated instruction. Strong business partners are the backbone of the STEM program, as students work in the field with businesses to engage in real-world problem solving. Females take prominent leadership roles in the program and are represented on the robotics team and in computer coding activities.

To earn STEM certification, each school had to submit an application showing that it meets specific criteria, including evidence of teacher collaboration, business and industry partnerships, high levels of math and science instruction, and an integrated, project-based STEM curriculum. A team from the Georgia Department of Education visited the school to observe the program.

Learn more about STEM schools at