STEM, The New Normal

The old PJC campus on Jack Finney Blvd. will require extensive modification before it can be used as a STEM Academy. Image by Jim Satterwhite
The old PJC campus on Jack Finney Blvd. will require extensive modification before it can be used as a STEM Academy. Image by Jim Satterwhite

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Educational agencies the world over are embracing STEM with open arms.  Greenville ISD is not being left out.  The district has gone so far as to purchase the old Paris Junior College (PJC) Building on Jack Finney Blvd.  The building was first built for office space and later converted to classrooms for the college.  Phoenix Charter School made an offer on the building and moved in but defaulted when Texas pulled the charter for non-compliance with state guidelines and failing evaluations.

Superintendent Don Jeffries is an visionary administrator that has plans for a Greenville STEM Academy.  The PJC building will take extensive modification to bring the PJC Building up to 21st Century standards.  Craig Drone from the consulting firm of Huckabee and Associates indicated that “modifications may be just shy of three million dollars”.  The GISD Board discussed STEM and its impact on Greenville during the May board meeting held Tuesday night.  One board member, Slack Brown, ask “will the academy take talented students from neighborhood schools?  What will happen when the students graduate from the STEM academy and return to the neighborhood schools?”.

The discussion was ongoing at ten PM Tuesday night and a decision had not been made. The question remains “is STEM the new normal or is it truly a blessing for our students for generations to come?”. The Board voted seven to zero to authorize GISD administration to further explore the proposed program and design issues related to renovating the PJC campus to address future district needs.

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