Alice Drive Middle School was highlighted Monday at Sumter School District's Board of Trustees meeting for a new science initiative it's undertaking this school year that's actually "out of this world."
Principal Jeannie Pressley formally …
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Principal Jeannie Pressley formally informed the board of trustees Monday that the school was recently selected by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education for a student spaceflight experiments program that will go to the International Space Station in the spring.
Alice Drive Middle - a nationally accredited STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) school - is one of only 31 schools and colleges in the U.S. and Canada to be selected this school year for the spaceflight experiments program, Pressley said.
According to Pressley, each summer the school tries to pursue a grant or opportunity to enhance the school's STEM program for the upcoming school year.
During the next two months, the school's students will learn in their STEM classes about designing microgravity experiments in research teams for the spaceflight mission, Pressley said.
She said she hopes the school will have at least 60 total experiments from its student body. Students will be immersed in authentic experiment design and proposal writing with their projects, she said, understanding more fully how science and technology work together.
The school will then narrow the experimental projects down to the top 10 and then select three finalists. The top three from the school will be sent to Washington, D.C., for final review and selection by the national center.
In November, a review board of national researchers and distinguished STEM educators will select the actual flight experiment to represent the middle school on the spring 2018 Mission 12 spaceflight to the International Space Station, Pressley said.
In the process, astronauts on the International Space Station will conduct the school's selected experiment, according to Pressley. Simultaneously, the students will conduct a duplicate experiment at the school so when the experiment is returned, the results may be compared.
Pressley said she's excited that the school's proposal was accepted this summer by the national center.
"We are in this," Pressley said. "So our competition is really just within our building, and that's exciting. So, we'll narrow it down, and one of our experiments will be on International Space Station in the spring."
Interim Superintendent Debbie Hamm and the board congratulated Pressley on the school's honor.
In other matters, district Chief Financial Officer Chris Griner presented the monthly financial report for August to the full board.
Also, Chairman the Rev. Daryl McGhaney announced that six board members will attend and officially vote as delegates at the annual South Carolina School Boards Association Delegate Assembly on Dec. 2. Those official delegates from the district will be Linda Alston, Bonnie Disney, Lucille McQuilla, Johnny Hilton, Barbara Jackson and William Byrd. McGhaney said he will serve as an alternate if one of the six is unable to attend.
About 30 residents attended Monday's meeting at the district office.
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