STEMtastic News - July 2021

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NC Department of Public Instruction

July 2021


Home of STEMtastic News


Model STEM School of Distinction

You deserve to be the next NC STEM School of Distinction!


Many schools across our state engage quality STEM instruction; maximizing community partnerships and driving opportunities for students, developing the skills necessary for future success. NC DPI and the NC State Board of Education want to recognize each and every school that exemplifies the qualities associated with STEM success.


The STEM Schools Progress Rubric serves as an incredible tool for self-assessment and school improvement and is the key to achievement for STEM schools in North Carolina.


Schools who self-assess at the Prepared or Model level of achievement, based on the Rubric, are encouraged to complete an Intent to Apply with NC DPI. Applications for the 2021-2022 SY open August 1st. This intent does not obligate the school, but instead, allows the opportunity for receiving additional information and resources toward becoming recognized as one of North Carolina's finest in STEM education.


Interested schools should complete their Intent no later than October 8, 2021.  Please contact Howard Ginsburg at should you have further questions.

More Than a Recognition Program


The STEM Schools Progress Rubric is a strategic planning document that is valuable for any school or program within a school that wants to improve STEM teaching and learning.


To get the most out of the STEM rubric, consider the following:

  • The rubric is an instrument to be used by the whole school rather than an individual. It requires the input and perspective of various stakeholders within the school as well as outside such as parents, business partners, and community members.
  • Successful applicants for the School of Distinction have spent a minimum of six months gathering artifacts and data and soliciting input from stakeholders.
  • After all the evidence has been gathered, it's usually best if no more than one or two people complete the application. At least one person inside the school and one person outside the school should review the final application before submission. 
  • There is no specific number of artifacts that should be submitted. The best guidance is to consider whether a reviewer will have enough information to determine that the school is meeting the metrics of the rubric.

Schools interested in the opportunity to submit an application providing narrative and artifactual evidence of their distinguished STEM approaches to leading and learning should obtain a copy of the STEM Schools Progress Rubric. Schools should self-assess their performance across the five Overarching Principles and the Key Elements within and engage purposefully within their school improvement process. Applications for the 2021-22 school year will be available beginning August 1st.

North Carolina STEM Explorers

Casting Call!

Seeking Teachers and Students for TV Opportunity

Cam Productions (Raleigh) is developing a new weekly STEM production targeting North Carolina middle school standards. Each engaging and interactive 30-minute episode will focus on STEM applications across North Carolina, with content formatted to be used independently from the tv show (ie.. classroom, website, etc...).


Core STEM concepts will be explored through a variety of experiments and demonstrations. Additionally, each episode will highlight STEM-related missions from various organizations across the state, as well as include a 'Career Moment' in which a North Carolina STEM professional will share their career path, from interest to education and internships leading into the job that they love.


Cam productions is seeking teachers and (middle school) students who are ready to help develop self-identity in North Carolina's youth as STEM workers and overcome ethnic/gender stereotypes. Charismatic individuals ready to share compelling STEM activities, stories, and positive experiences are encouraged to reach out for more information on how they can help build a prepared STEM workforce for North Carolina's future.


Contact Mike Ousley at for more information.

2021 Office Hours


Join the K-12 Science Team for July's session in which they facilitate informal discussions focused on promising practices from the past year. This is an opportunity for teachers, schools, and districts to network and reflect on their school year.


The session recording from June 23 is posted on the Professional Development page of the K-12 Science Google Site.  You can also register for July's session on the Professional Development page.

College Board

NCAPP AP Teachers’ Summer Refresher Series


Zoom Sessions, July 12-15; July 19-22; July 26-29


Attention NC AP Teachers - Want to get re-energized with fellow AP teachers after a difficult year? Looking for some inspiration? Look no further….The North Carolina Advanced Placement Partnership is excited to offer a FREE session series led by North Carolina AP teachers, for North Carolina’s AP teachers!


Teachers can attend virtual sessions specific to their AP course to discuss strategies designed to strengthen AP instruction and improve student learning through AP tool integration and support. NCAPP will pay all registration costs, and teachers may attend as many as they wish.

What to expect:

  • 90-minute Zoom sessions designed by successful NC AP teachers who want to collaborate and connect with other NC AP teachers
  • Register for one, two, three or four sessions -- whatever looks interesting to you!
  • Beginning AP teachers can register for Experienced AP teacher sessions and vice versa.
  • Participants will receive a printed Course and Exam Description binder if registered (be advised that we will try, but it may not arrive prior to the session dates).
  • Participants who complete the survey at the end of each session will receive a certificate of participation by August 30, 2021.

Click HERE for the Course Session Catalog and Registration Links!

Look for “Catalog and Registration for AP Teachers' Refresher Series (new)” NCAPP purpose


The mission of the Partnership between College Board and the state of North Carolina is to prepare, inspire, and connect students to postsecondary success and opportunity, with a particular focus on minority students and students who are underrepresented in postsecondary education. The purpose of the Partnership is therefore to assist in improving college readiness of secondary students and to assist secondary schools to ensure that students have access to high-quality, rigorous academics with a focus on access to Advanced Placement courses.



Greatest Hits Professional Development Image

Professional Development Opportunities

The Division of Standards, Curriculum, and Instruction presents Greatest Hits! This is an opportunity to catch up on professional development that educators might have missed over the last year.  Direct recording links, materials, and survey links for CEUs are included within!  Please note that the time to complete these varies, as most are self-paced. We plan to leave these open for use through September to allow for enough time to complete them.  Contact Dr. Angie Mullennix at for questions.


Greatest Hits Professional Development Opportunities

NC DPI STEM Consultant

Howard Ginsburg


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