Pittsylvania Co. STEM Academy Will Open on Schedule

Pittsylvania Co., VA - It took months of hard work, but Pittsylvania County Schools finally has a new STEM Academy.

The academy won't be quite ready when school starts on Monday, but by August18h, about 2,000 students will be ushered into a new era in Pittsylvania County.

After months of uncertainty, the Superintendent is breathing a sigh of relief as crews put the finishing touches on the new STEM academy.

"It has been a labor of love from all perspectives in our school system," said Superintendent James McDaniel.

After going back and forth on funding, the school system finally took ownership of the former Carlisle School in May, but that left very little time for fixing it up.

"We had a very aggressive timeline, but with the hard work and dedication, of our staff and our team, we're going to be able to open this facility as scheduled, " McDaniel said.

Students will learn the core STEM principles - science, technology, engineering and math, but the lessons won't all be on paper. The students won't be the only ones excited about a more interactive learning style.

The academy's three teachers - including 35 year veteran Tommie Evans - say being a part of this brand new program is like an adventure.

"It's just an opportunity I've never had to start at the ground floor and develop a program, and be able to do fun things that are really going to prepare our students for the future, " said Evans.

For McDaniel, introducing young students to these job skills, is essential to building the workforce of tomorrow.

"This is a way to transform our community, to transform our region. We want to increase the capacity of students who are pursuing advanced diplomas and getting college and career ready for the future, " McDaniel said.

The Superintendent says academy participation will be required for all 5th, 7th and 9th grade students.

The new facility will also be the new home of the county's Alternative School - housed in a separate portion of the building, and a teacher training and development lab will also be located on site.