New Atlanta Area STEM HS Partnering with Local Industry

In fall 2021, the newest STEM magnet school will open in Fulton County. The Innovation Academy will work with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing in creating a STEM-focused curriculum that uses project-based and team learning, portfolios, certifications, business mentorships and student-created applications and products.

New Atlanta Area STEM HS Partnering with Local Industry

Source: Cooper Carry

That starting date is a year later than originally announced. According to reporting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Superintendent Mike Looney, who took over in June, wants the extra time for staff--including teachers--to prepare.

The new school's proposed "curriculum principles" are these:

  • To emphasize design thinking and the use of "authentic" interdisciplinary projects;

  • To offer advanced placement coursework to all students that's also integrated into the projects;

  • To build mastery in either Spanish or coding as language pathways;

  • To personalize instruction through self-guided instruction that uses blended learning; and

  • To give students support via an "advisory group leader" and one-on-one mentoring and advising.

The district is inviting companies to be part of the program, to help deliver authentic learning experiences, mentorships and internships for workplace exposure and to support the school financially and with equipment.

New Atlanta Area STEM HS Partnering with Local Industry

Source: Cooper Carry

Construction on the 245,000-square foot building began in July 2018. The facility will eventually accommodate 1,500 high school students. It was designed by Atlanta-based company Cooper Carry and will feature a three-story atrium, "Touchdown Commons," which also be used as the school's cafeteria "for a "Starbucks effect," and media center, according to reporting by Building Design+Construction. Furniture and room spaces have been designed for flexibility.

As part of emphasizing the learning, interaction and design thinking aspects of the school, its common areas are being designed to feature "height, light and exposed mechanical systems," according to the school's website.

During 2020, the campus will be used for professional development.

In the same timeframe the district also expected to open a second STEM school, current named the Global Impact Academy, which is under construction in Fairburn.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.