Phenix City Schools Awarded Cognia STEM Certification

PCS is the largest district in the nation to have each school receive Cognia’s STEM Certification

Phenix City, Ala. (August 4, 2022) — Phenix City Schools (PCS) are now STEM certified, becoming the largest and fourth district in the nation. Every school in the PCS system earned Cognia’s STEM Certification in June.

According to Cognia, its STEM Certification Program, “guides leaders with a specific framework and improvement process, culminating in recognition for programs that demonstrate a strong and effective STEM focus… These standards, which Cognia identified through robust research and extensive observations, focus on characteristics like problem-based experiential learning and the integration of
STEM thinking into a broad range of activities and learning opportunities.”

PCS met and exceeded each of the standards and expectations set forth by Cognia. Cognia recognizes and certifies PCS’ STEM program:

● Promotes scientific inquiry and engineering design
● Develops skill sets that transfer across career sectors
● Bolsters students’ capacity for critical thinking and perseverance through complex tasks
● Engages students in ways that connect learning to the real world

Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, Rachael Peters said, “The initiative to become STEM Certified, system-wide, was the work and achievement of many educators in our system. It was a rigorous process and I’m proud of the administrators, teachers and staff that worked towards this goal. PCS will continue to find ways to support its students and their academic successes.”

This announcement was made at PCS’ 2022 Institute, a system-wide meeting before the beginning of school. Jeff Langham-Regional Director for Alabama, Jeff Wooten-Senior Director for the Southeast, and Mark Quintana Vice President, Global Services of Cogina attended the event. Gov. Kay Ivey recognized this achievement with the Governor’s Commendation.

PCS offers enriching STEM activities from preschool through 12th grade. Each elementary school is equipped with a Smartlab, where students attend each school day for 30 minutes. Students use advanced software and materials that highlight the skills needed to be a successful 21st century learner. Student-centered learning is an important objective in the Smartlab. Students to take ownership of their learning and collaborate with others, problem solve, think critically, develop their creativity, and enhance communication skills.

At the middle school level, students regularly attend classes in the Dyer Family STEM Center. Students are immersed in various STEM-related labs and activities, including engineering, coding, digital media, LEGO Education Robotics and zSpace 3D virtual reality.

High school students expand on previous STEM experiences and have the option to choose a pathway in the Career Technical Center, dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes and over 40 STEM-focused clubs and organizations.

If you are interested in learning more about PCS’ STEM education programs and initiatives, contact STEM Coordinator, Brandi Laney at

About PCS
Phenix City Schools offers a complete, one-of-a-kind education for all students, preschool through 12th grade. Its goal is to prepare all students for a career and/or college through inquiry-based pedagogy, innovative resources, and a learning environment that will have immediate and future societal impact.

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