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AdvancED Executive Summary Questions

1. Provide a general description of the learning experiences in which the STEM students
were most successful. Additionally, generally describe the learning experiences that need
improvement for greater student success.
The STEM Academy at Benjamin Banneker High School (BHS) was developed to
address the growing role that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play in
the nation’s economy. Fulton County School System launched the 3DE Magnet, formally named
the Junior Achievement Magnet Business Academy (JAMBA) at BHS in the Fall of 2015. The
JAMBA was developed through a partnership between Fulton County Schools and Junior
Achievement of Georgia as a reform initiative to positively impact the academic, behavior and
social outcomes at Banneker High School. Historically, BHS was one of the lowest performing
schools in the state of Georgia, was identified as a school with the highest number of discipline
infractions in the school district and had a graduation rate of less than 50%. Junior Achievement
of Georgia partnered with Fulton County Schools to improve the overall student experience,
provide a curriculum that was rigorous and relevant and allowed students to apply their learning
through case study challenges and job site visits.
During the 2016-2017 school year, BHS applied for a School Improvement Grant and
explored workforce development initiatives that align with STEM career clusters. Upon
receiving the School Improvement Grant award BHS hired a consultant to assess the career and
technical education (CTE) offerings and recommended career pathways aligned to the local
workforce. It was determined that BHS STEM students would concentrate on two pathways in
the Information Technology Career Cluster; Computer Science and Programming and continue
supporting the growth and development of the STEM Career Clusters’ Engineering and
Technology Pathway.
The STEM program was the logical next phase to expanding the BHS 3DE magnet which
infuses the concepts of business, marketing, technology and entrepreneurship into all core
classes. Students are given the opportunity to apply their learning through real world problem
based activities. STEM programming complimented the rigorous course offerings required of
magnet students and provided additional concentrations that align to the long-term career goals
of many students. During the 2017-2018 school year, BHS begin to offer three options for
magnet students. Students were given the option to concentrate on Business Career Pathways,
STEM Career Pathways or both. All 3DE magnet students are required to complete the Business
and Technology and Entrepreneurship Pathways regardless of the option chosen; this is done to
facilitate the alignment of the monthly case studies and job site visits.
The learning experiences most successful for 3DE magnet students are the partner-driven
case challenges and the interdisciplinary learning designed around the case challenges. Case
challenges are presented to students every five to six weeks by business partners. Challenges are
real problems confronting the business ranging from technology, business management, branding
and customer relations. Case challenge themes are integrated across core subject areas to create a
consistent connection between academic concepts and real-world applications. This approach to
project-based learning fuels classroom engagement and promotes students’ exploration of their
passions, skills and future possibilities. The case challenges are a catalyst for interdisciplinary
learning experiences as students need to draw upon all disciplines to perform research, analyze,
collaborate, design, write and present solutions to complex business and technological problems.
The Banneker High School 3DE Magnet has consistently moved along a continuum of
improvement and refinement in meeting the learning needs of our students. Our goal is to
increase the awareness and interest in STEM pathways and careers among Banneker High
School students and develop a STEM pipeline from high school to college that includes rigorous
coursework and STEM career experiences. Our STEM programs’ design is aligned with the
three educational pathways that support the federal government’s five-year plan for STEM
education: Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnerships, Engage Students where Disciplines
Converge and Build Computational Literacy.
Develop and Enrich Strategic Partnerships.​ ​The 3DE Magnet is a strategic partnership
between the school, Junior Achievement and a community of business partners. This joint
venture has leveraged relationships with over 35 companies and industries that give our students
broad career exposure through case challenges, site visits, internships and 12​th​ grade consultancy
Engage Students where Disciplines Converge​. ​The 3DE Magnet promotes innovation
and entrepreneurship by “engaging learners where disciplines converge” through project-based
learning, science fairs, entrepreneurship fairs, design challenges, and technology club
competitions that require students to identify and solve problems using knowledge from across
disciplines. Teaching a firm grounding of entrepreneurship with an emphasis on innovation and
invention is one of the best ways we prepare our STEM students for the 21​st​ century workforce.
Build Computational Literacy.​ ​Including the AP computer science principles curriculum
as part of our required STEM program creates a direct alignment with this strategy. The AP
computer science principles curriculum framework focuses on the innovative aspects of
computing and the computational thinking that helps students make connections to their
everyday lives and opens a pathway for students to continue studies in college-level STEM and
computing courses. Students learn problem solving, how to apply computational processes to
analyze large data sets, programming and global impacts of computing, internet structures and
important cybersecurity issues.
We recognize there are still learning experiences that need improvement that will yield
greater STEM student success. In identifying these opportunities for growth, we have also begun
work on solutions we believe will have the greatest impact on student success. STEM learning
experiences should include earlier exposure to the design thinking model as students work to
provide solutions to business case challenges and problems as well as more technology-based
outreach activities for our feeder middle and elementary schools. Fully incorporating design
thinking as an instructional model for the 3DE magnet will help students think more holistically,
creatively and innovatively. Additionally, increasing the technological capacity of our magnet
students will in turn give them the ability to develop and participate in more outreach programs
for feeder elementary and middle school students.

2. Provide examples of how the STEM educator and facilitators implement and sustain the
core tenets of an effective and age-appropriate STEM curriculum.
STEM educators and facilitators implement and sustain the core tenets of the effective
age-appropriate STEM curriculum by using STEM research-based pedagogies, STEM content
integration, real-world application of learning, and technology integration. Research-based
pedagogies refer to the specialized knowledge of teachers for creating effective teaching and
learning environments that utilize a range of inductive-based instructional practices specific to
STEM education. All 3DE magnet classrooms are student-centered which gives more
responsibility to students for their own learning. Classrooms are arranged to facilitate
collaborative work designed for solving problems and completing projects. Teachers utilize
instructional strategies that challenge students with complex, ill-structured open-ended
real-world questions, problems and case studies. Teachers assess not only students’ mastery of
content, but also their ability to complete performance tasks including business, technology,
math, science and interdisciplinary projects. The STEM curriculum is also sustained through
weekly professional learning communities (PLCs) where teachers meet to collaborate and plan
interdisciplinary lessons. Teachers also receive regular schoolwide and personal STEM and
technology professional development.
STEM Content integration can be seen in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary lesson
plans developed by magnet teachers. Academic teachers are responsible for completing lesson
plans that integrate the business, technology and/or competency aspect of the 5-6-week case
challenges. All teachers are responsible for working together as grade level teams to complete a
STEM transdisciplinary project for each semester. As an example, the 2nd semester, 9th grade
STEM project involves genetically modified Foods (GMOs). Students are conducting historical
and present-day research on the methods necessary to produce the world’s most demanded
grocery selections, GMOs. Students will examine statistics and analyze data to determine
whether genetically modified foods are responsible for the decline in human health and the true
price of efficiency based on technological advances. Teachers also integrate STEM content
through electronic platforms including Defined STEM and Project Lead the Way (PLTW).
The STEM curriculum is also implemented and sustained through real-world application
of theoretical concepts inside and outside of the classroom setting. Students are exposed to
real-world simulation models inside the classroom through programs like Everfi and Knowledge
Matters. Students also simulate real-world applications by competing in design challenges, the
science and engineering fair, technology student association (TSA) competitions,
entrepreneurship fair and presenting case study solutions to company executives in a corporate
office environment. As a final example, senior students complete capstone internships or
consultancy projects. In both cases, students spend time at job sites and get an authentic view of
the company, available careers and job responsibilities.
Implementation and sustainability of a STEM curriculum could not be complete without
technology integration. Our teachers use several electronic platforms to disseminate and collect
student assignments including Schoology, Microsoft OneNote, Nearpod, Twitter, NewsEla,
EdPuzzle and Defined STEM. All classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards and a
class set of surface pro tablets, Dell laptops or desktop computers. In addition to available online
software, the information technology labs are equipped with downloaded software to support the
respective classes. Technology classrooms and classrooms that received funding from the
Verizon STEM grant also have use of large flatbed printers, large 3D printer, Makerbot 3D
printers, CNC machine, FANUC robots, Sphero robots, Raspberry Pi mini computers, 360
degree camera, 3D tablets and more.
Overall, the core tenets of an effective and age-appropriate STEM curriculum are
embedded in the 3DE comprehensive transformation model. We cannot provide an exact number
of students designated as “STEM” because ALL 3DE students receive STEM learning
experiences as part of their participation in the program. Roughly 40% of current 3DE students
are STEM concentrators in at least one pathway. We project this number to increase substantially
in coming years evidenced by B-STEM applications accounting for 70% of all new applications
for next school year. Total 3DE enrollment is 426 students. Four-year enrollment numbers for
each pathway follows: computer science and programming total 105, engineering and technology
total 82, healthcare science 98, flight operations 10, and audio video 10. Total enrollment for
STEM academic courses include, AP biology 11, biology honors 97, AP chemistry 7, chemistry
honors 34, AP statistics 20, AP calculus 15, pre-calculus 57 and pre-calculus honors 24. 3DE
Magnet pathway completers for 2019 include 3 computer science, 6 programming, 2
engineering, 10 flight operations, 10 audio visual and 7 health care graduates.