Cumberland Times-News

January 23, 2014

Fort Hill, Mtn. Ridge schools receive STEM designation

Greg Larry
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Business Round-table has collaborated with Allegany County Public School System officials to select Mountain Ridge and Fort Hill high schools to be designated as STEM innovation schools.

A priority focus of Maryland education, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

The designation of the schools was announced at a recent public meeting of the Allegany County Board of Education.

“Fort Hill and Mountain Ridge are two of 46 schools selected in the state,” said Katie James, STEM coordinator.

James, along with Principals Gene Morgan, Mountain Ridge, and Stephen Lewis of Fort Hill attended the board meeting to participate in the announcement and re-ceive a citation for the achievement.

“It’s quite an honor to receive this,” said board member Ed Root, who presented the citation.

Root read the citation aloud at the meeting.

“You are being recognized for your commitment to strengthen teaching and learning in STEM,” said Root.

The designation will allow the schools to have access to STEMnet, an electronic platform that will grant teachers and students access to Maryland’s vast STEM resources. STEMnet offers programs, software and resources. It also offers access to expert educators and industry professionals involved in STEM fields.

“It will provide lots of hands-on resources and activities for the students,” said Karen Bundy, chief academic officer for the Allegany County Board of Education.

Mountain Ridge, the area’s newest high school, has a state-of-the-art media studio and digital communication equipment.

“It’s a format for teachers to communicate back and forth. They have a warehouse of STEM activities and lessons for students,” said Morgan in an interview following the meeting.

The STEM innovation offerings are in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland Office of the Governor and STEMnet.

The citation was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and other state officials.

James said that STEM learning will also be a great way to look into careers.

“It will let students see what a real-world job is like and connect them with teachers and industry professionals. They can see them in person or through Skype,” said James.

Skype is an online method that allows the participants to create a video connection on their computer screens.

“It will allow students to see what a person in the STEM field does and how they impact our society,” said Bundy.

Training for teachers and staff assisting with the new STEM offerings, including the STEMnet database platform, will be held  Jan. 29 at Mountain Ridge and Jan. 30 at Fort Hill.

Greg Larry can be contacted at