- Finley Junior High
WISD is First in Texas for STEM Certification
Waxahachie ISD is the first school district in Texas to be named a nationally certified STEM school district by the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE). For nearly 10 years, Waxahachie ISD has been committed to incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education practices into all areas of instruction.
In 2014, the Waxahachie ISD Long Range Planning Committee recommended Waxahachie ISD open a STEM elementary campus. Over the following years, district staff members participated in STEM learning through Project Lead the Way, the University of Texas at Tyler, and Texas A&M SPARK. The district held its first STEAM Expo in 2018, and Wilemon STEAM Academy opened later that year.
Wilemon has since become the first campus in Texas where all professional staff members earned National Certificates for STEM Teaching, as well as earning national distinction as a campus for STEM excellence.
In 2022, the district opened Marvin Biomedical Academy in response to families asking for additional STEM choices within the district.
STEM leaders are responsible for nurturing a culture of continual improvement. One hundred and nine staff members at Wilemon STEAM Academy, Marvin Biomedical Academy, Coleman Junior High, Finley Junior High, Howard Junior High, Waxahachie High School, and the Teaching, Learning, and Innovation department have earned NISE certification, with 59 additional candidates in progress now. WISD staff represent more than 10,000 hours of STEM professional development hours earned.
“Getting NISE certified completely changed my style of teaching,” said second-grade teacher Amy Nutt. “I am now able to enrich all my students every day with meaningful experiences and creative student engagement. My classroom culture is what makes me the happiest. My room is filled with laughter, collaboration, mistakes, and new experiences. I actually enjoy teaching more than I ever have because I get to see my students highly engaged in their learning every day.”
Waxahachie ISD continues to provide even more STEM opportunities for students, specifically at the junior high level in the 2023-2024 school year. Junior high students across the district will have the opportunity to participate in Project Lead the Way Gateway classes, including computer science, flight and space, app creation, and “medical detectives.” In addition, Waxahachie ISD junior high students will be participating in the Student Space Exploration Projects program.