STEM Academy moves to CCHS

Published 8:45 am Thursday, August 31, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County Schools STEM Academy has moved from the LeCroy Career Technical Center to Chilton County High School.

However, the program is still available to every high school student in the school system.

STEM includes classes in science, technology, engineering and math.

“We were not getting access to all the advanced students, and a lot of these engineering courses match with AP and honors courses in math and science,” teacher Jay LeCroy said.

He said now students can go straight from an honors or AP math class to an engineering class.

“It makes sense to put all the courses that a college bound student would take in AP and honors and engineering in one place,” LeCroy said. “It saves time for the students.”

Logistically, the school system is trying to figure out where to place courses to make them accessible to the most students, LeCroy said

A student from Isabella High School comes to CCHS to take AP Chemistry and AP English back-to-back.

Dylan Levering, a senior at Jemison High School, is taking AP Chemistry at CCHS.

He said the course appealed to him because he wants a career in chemical engineering, and this course was not available at JHS.

“It has been pretty eye opening to how hard we are going to have to work in college, but I feel like it has prepared us,” Levering said.

Levering said he drives to CCHS for the class two days a week one week and then three days a week the next since the high schools follow an A/B week schedule.

To keep from missing instruction time, Levering is an aide at JHS following his class at CCHS. He said being late would not be an issue.

Sarah Wills, a senior at JHS, is taking culinary at JHS as her class following her AP Chemistry class at CCHS.

“I’ve talked to my teacher … and she said she would work around me getting back late,” Wills said.

She said she wanted to take the AP course to “get the college credit and experience taking an AP course.” She plans on being a teacher.

Some of the other STEM classes offered include robotics, biomedical and principals of engineering.

There are five Jemison students that come to CCHS for classes. Students from Isabella and Verbena high schools are also participating in the program for engineering classes.

Counselors at the schools help students set their schedules and sign up for the classes.

Superintendent Tommy Glasscock has often discussed the idea of each school having a specialty that students from other high schools in the district may come to. The STEM Academy at CCHS is just one example.

At a town hall meeting this summer, IHS Principal Ricky Porter mentioned space has been an issue in some classes such as the sport medicine class at CCHS. Glasscock said this is being addressed by making sure only those students who are genuinely interested in the class, not just trying to fill credits, are signed up for these specialized classes.

Glasscock said students could make up any work missed while driving from class to class  later through Google classroom.