New STEM program in Guntersville City Schools is making futures even brighter

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- With help from the community students in Guntersville City Schools are taking on the school year with a new experience that's helping them step into a career field - starting in kindergarten.

Inside a Guntersville High School classroom Wednesday morning community members, students, and staff officially celebrated a new program that is giving students a step up.

"Project Lead the Way is a nationally recognized engineering program that teaches students science, technology, engineering and math," Guntersville High School Principal Roseanne Mabrey says.

Mabrey says the school system started the hands-on program this school year in each of the city's schools. "It's a K through 12 curriculum so we are able to implement the Project Lead the Way Launch in the elementary grades, the Gateway Program in the middle school, and the engineering program in the high school level," Mabrey explains.

The staff saw an opportunity for the students, and the project is supported through the community. "Our endeavors started in the spring to raise $100,000 to begin this program, and due to the support we've had through business and industry we have luckily raised $120,000," Mabrey says.

That enabled the system to launch the program in all of its schools.

"In the kindergarten level, they do small hands-on projects where they might learn what a force is or what gravity is," explains Guntersville High School teacher Kate White, who is one of the teachers implementing the program in her classroom, "They have iPads where they can do real simple computer programming, where they can do little games where everything is visual based instead of text-based."

The program spans into middle school, where it gets more complex, then reaching into the high school classrooms. "We're even doing things that I saw as a sophomore, junior, in engineering in college," says White of the high school curriculum.

The school system says by starting the program early, it provides a foundation. Just as important though, it enables an excitement about a potential future, and gives the students the skills for that field and other areas.

"I don't think every students needs to be an engineer, but I think through this program they learn how to work in groups and work with others, which anyone is going to have to do in a job or a career," White explains.

Through the program the students are establishing the building blocks for a future, no matter what it might be.

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