McHenry Dist. 15 schools named as finalist for national STEM Excellence Award

  • McHenry Middle School, including its STEM Lab, has been selected as a top three finalist for the FETC STEM Excellence Award.

    McHenry Middle School, including its STEM Lab, has been selected as a top three finalist for the FETC STEM Excellence Award. Courtesy of McHenry School District 15

Updated 12/11/2018 7:20 PM

McHenry School District 15 is being recognized by the Future of Education Technology Conference as having one of the top STEM programs in the nation. Specifically, McHenry Middle School has been selected as a top three finalist for the FETC STEM Excellence Award!

The FETC STEM Advisory Committee, consisting of a seven-member panel of high-ranking educational professionals from across the country, evaluated hundreds of applications before narrowing it down to three finalists, in three different categories.


The applications are evaluated based on the use of interdisciplinary curriculum, collaboration, design, problem solving and the STEM Experiences offered to the students they serve.

"STEM education is, and will continue to be, an essential component in 21st century schools, preparing students for the careers of today and tomorrow, including those not yet imagined," said Jennifer Womble, program chair of FETC. "Delivering excellent STEM programs is all about innovation, and each of the STEM Excellence Awards finalists demonstrates the kind of leadership and exemplary programs toward which all schools should strive.

"We're excited to welcome all nine finalists to FETC in January to share their innovative, effective strategies with teachers and administrators from across the globe."

The committee was impressed by the innovation and educational impact of the STEM program at McHenry School District 15 and has named McHenry Middle School as a finalist in the middle school category. The three finalists from the middle school category include:

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• Mater Academy Charter Middle School, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.

• McHenry Middle School, McHenry School District 15, McHenry, Ill.

• The STEM Academy at Bartlett, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Savannah, Ga.

"Our board of education and district team is immensely proud to be recognized for this honor. More importantly, we are thrilled to offer our students an unrivaled, cutting-edge STEM experience that will no doubt prepare them for the future," states Dr. Alan Hoffman, superintendent of schools. "This award is a tribute to the amazingly talented teachers that make our STEM program a nationally recognized success."

Dr. Fred Laudadio, executive director of Learning and Technology, will be delivering a formal presentation at the FETC in the STEM Theater for the FETC advisory committee as well as conference attendees.

"Our presentation will highlight D15's journey from envisioning and developing top-notch STEM programming, to implementing an unparalleled educational experience that is both inspiring and innovative," Laudadio said.

The winner from each category will be announced live on the keynote stage at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 30, before the STEM keynote, "Pursuing the Extraordinary," presented by Dr. Mae Jemison who has served as a NASA astronaut and implements STEM education to students worldwide.