Shaw Elementary School is the first Springdale school to earn the Arkansas STEM Model School designation.

Shaw is the seventh Arkansas school to receive the STEM designation, which stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

The designation emphasizes the integration of content to improve communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, said Shelly Bewley, Shaw Elementary School principal.

"Our school team has worked all year to grow our understanding and implementation of STEM,” Bewley said. “We believe that STEM practices make learning more relevant and engaging for our students.”

The AR STEM Model Program connects the Arkansas's STEM education system to Arkansas careers and career training opportunities, according to the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education website. The program is based on the Federal STEM Vision to build strong foundations in STEM literacy, increase STEM education and prepare students for the future STEM workforce.

“We've used science and economics as the basis for many grade level and school-wide projects to keep students excited about learning and to teach them about future career opportunities," Bewley said.

Shaw’s team completed a rigorous, year-long application that compiled evidence from classrooms, the school and community involvement in support of the designation, Bewley said. The artifacts submitted showcased how STEM practices are embedded in the school's curriculum and instruction.

A team of state and regional specialists completed a site visit in April as the final step in the designation process, she said.

The goals of the AR STEM Model Program include:

Increase STEM Opportunities for Arkansas Students

Recognize Model STEM Schools across the State

Develop and Strengthen Partnerships with Business, Industry, and Community

Support Growth and Sustainability of the AR STEM Teacher Pipeline

STEM education provides opportunities for students to engage in authentic experiences in the classroom that are linked to community, occupations and the global world so all Arkansas students become STEM literate in their PreK-12 journey towards college and career readiness, according to the website.