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Henry County Elementary Schools Highlight District-Wide Investments on National STEM Day

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) took center stage in Henry County Schools (HCS) on Nov. 8 with the unveiling of new hydroponic tower garden kits and visits by board members and district officials to STEM Labs, which are recent additions to all of the district’s 28 elementary schools.

The inaugural “STEM-A-Versary” recognized milestone advancements in STEM education in elementary schools over the past year. Schools participated in designated STEM-based activities and lessons throughout the year in the lead-up to Wednesday’s celebrations.

To mark the special day, members of the Board of Education and Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis toured elementary schools and got a firsthand view of the results of the district’s STEM investments. These celebrations coincided with National STEM Day, providing an opportunity to highlight the board’s commitment to STEM for all students.

“The Henry County Board of Education has set a new standard for STEM education,” said Board Chair Annette Edwards. “We’ve made substantial investments to allow learning to flourish early so that we can empower future scientists, engineers, and innovators.”

Under the district’s 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan, Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (E-SPLOST) funds support various STEM initiatives, including $303,000 to develop robotics curricula and activities for K-5.

E-SPLOST and other funding sources have supported STEM lab upgrades and purchases in elementary schools across the district, including $290,000 on resources such as digital microscopes and the hydroponic tower garden kits. These kits will introduce young learners to real-world applications for developing sustainable agriculture.

“Meaningfully dedicating resources to STEM will produce many benefits,” said Board Vice Chair Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “Exposure to the world of STEM using engaging techniques will help young learners and motivate them from an early age to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to meeting our planet’s evolving needs.”

The Henry County Board of Education is fully committed to establishing HCS as a K-12 leader in STEM education with ambitious goals, including expanding STEM opportunities at every school across the district with fully equipped labs and designated STEM clubs as part of Afterschool Enrichment Programs.

“By integrating innovative STEM programs and fostering a culture of innovation, we’re cultivating a community of lifelong learners,” said Superintendent Davis. “We are committed to positioning HCS as a pioneer in STEM education and preparing our students to drive transformative change and lead innovation in an increasingly complex world.”

These investments in STEM at the elementary level – coupled with investments totaling nearly $880,000 in middle and high school robotics and plans to purchase additional resources related to engineering and computer science – align with the district’s mission and vision aimed at ensuring access to early learning experiences and improving students’ chances for success as they advance through school and beyond.

“We are the only district with robotics equipment in every school for every kid to experience. This is beyond a club,” said Director of STEM and Innovative Practice Dr. Rabieh Hafza. “We also have a dedicated STEM lab teacher in every elementary school to ensure students are exposed to robotics, coding, engineering design, and many hands-on, real-world learning experiences.” 

These strategic initiatives will also support Henry County Schools’ state-of-the-art STEM high school planned for 2026. HCS will partner with regional STEM industries and Tier 1 Research Institutions to deliver advanced coursework to equip students with in-demand skills and knowledge.

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.