St. Teresa’s Academy (STA) has become the second school in Missouri or Kansas and the second all-girls school in the United States to earn the AdvancED Certification for Excellence in STEM Education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This achievement is a mark of STEM distinction and excellence only offered to highly effective institutions that recognize STEM education as a path to success.
To earn STEM Certification, STA has demonstrated adherence to the AdvancED STEM Standard as reflected by the school’s performance across 11 STEM Indicators. The schoolwide certification process provides a rigorous evaluation and continuous improvement process, supported by research-based tools and resources. Achieving high scores across the indicators certify that students have been equipped and trained to be innovative, creative, and systematic problem-solvers across disciplines.
Opportunities available to STA students to enhance their education include an expansive STEAM curriculum, community partnerships with professionals in STEAM fields, and state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Jo Weller, STA’s Director of Curriculum & Instruction, said, “The STEAM philosophy of St. Teresa’s Academy includes a commitment to interdisciplinary approaches that encourage problem solving, decision making, innovation, and design. Faculty and staff aim to provide opportunities for all students to approach authentic problems and utilize multiple competencies as they work toward solutions.”
STA students are connected with STEAM professionals through the eMentoring program, STEM/STEAM Certificate program, and the STEAM Advisory Board. The eMentoring program pairs juniors and seniors with female, adult, working professionals, often STA alumnae, in order to provide advice, support, and guidance. The STEM/STEAM Certificate program at St. Teresa’s Academy is offered to students who go above and beyond standard requirements with extensive STEM/STEAM-focused coursework, service, and professional mentoring and internship. The STEAM Advisory Board links STA to the broader post-secondary, business, and research communities to share best practices and to connect students with community opportunities and needs.
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. STA President Nan Bone said, “St. Teresa’s Academy offers our students the opportunity to create, innovate, solve, and discover, which will allow them to accomplish extraordinary things in the STEM professions they enter in the future.”
AdvancED is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts extensive, on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems in an effort to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. AdvancED STEM Certification is the first internationally recognized mark of quality for STEM schools and programs, signaling the growing emphasis placed on STEM education by educators, politicians and business leaders around the world.