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New STEM learning opportunities coming in 2024-25

June 3, 2024 -- As we look toward the future of Vestavia Hills City Schools, I am thrilled to share some exciting news that will impact our elementary students. Beginning next school year, students in kindergarten through fifth grade will participate in a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) class. This initiative marks a significant step forward in our commitment to providing our students the opportunity to learn without limits.

This incredible opportunity is the result of the collaborative efforts and generous contributions from our dedicated community. State Senators Jabo Waggoner and Dan Roberts, Representatives Jim Carns and Mike Shaw, the Vestavia Hills City Schools Foundation, our five elementary PTOs, Lathan Architects, Schneider Electric, and Shipt have collectively donated over half a million dollars to bring this vision to life. Their support will enable us to purchase the necessary supplies, materials, classroom furniture, and professional development to ensure the success of these STEM classes. The VHCS Foundation has also pledged funds to support new health science and engineering courses for our high school students. We look forward to debuting these classes next year along with more advanced math options for middle school students.

This past spring, the Board of Education approved the hiring of five exemplary STEM teachers: Billie Jean Price at Vestavia Hills Elementary East, Noelle Bradshaw at Vestavia Hills Elementary West, Katie McDaniel at Vestavia Hills Elementary Dolly Ridge, Heidi Burgess at Vestavia Hills Elementary Cahaba Heights, and Martha Martin at Vestavia Hills Elementary Liberty Park. These educators bring a wealth of knowledge and a passion for STEM education that will inspire and engage our students.

This new program is the culmination of a four-year vision to enhance STEM education across our school system. The establishment of these new STEM classes is a testament to the power of community collaboration and the shared belief in the importance of preparing our students for the future. We continue to seek partners to ensure the sustainability of this program and invite businesses, organizations, and individuals to join us in this endeavor.

As we embark on this new chapter, I am filled with optimism and gratitude. Together, we are not only enhancing our students’ educational experiences but also building a foundation for their future success in a rapidly evolving world. Let’s continue to work hand in hand to provide our children with the profound learning opportunities they deserve!

Todd Freeman, Ed.D.