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MACS Visits Dow

Thanks to a partnership with Richard Childress Racing, leaders from Mount Airy City Schools (MACS) were recently invited to Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan to brainstorm and collaborate with chemists, engineers, and research scientists in order to help advance and build a STEM (Science, Technology, and Mathematics) curriculum for educators.

Shelia Chase, STEAM Coordinator, Penny Willard, MAPSS Grant Coordinator, Levi Goins, HS Science Teacher, Bryan Hayes, HS Math Teacher, and Wendy Carriker, MACS BOE Chairman, represented the school district and were joined by Kim Gervase from North Carolina State University and RCR’s director of competition, Dr. Eric Warren. A Mount Airy native, Dr. Warren has spent much of his professional career advancing STEM and educational initiatives in his hometown community. His goal is for more young people to have exposure to Science, Technology and Mathematics in order to help build better engineers for future generations.

During the trip to Midland, Michigan, MACS employees worked directly with Dow employees who volunteer on the Dow Ambassador Program. Through the Dow Ambassador program, Dow employees are building a STEM curriculum for educators. These turn-key modules can be taken directly into schools and allow Dow employees to go out in the world to work directly with teachers and students. These kits help students gain experiences with STEM through project-based learning and hands-on activities. MACS employees were able to work alongside field experts as they created modules. The following Dow employees worked in small groups with MACS leaders:

  • Cassie Fhaner

  • Jaime Curtis-Fisk

  • Josh Katzenstein

  • Ben Freireich

  • Norm Byrne

  • Jeramie Morris

  • Bharati Balijepalli

  • Jason Reese

  • Dave Bank

  • Jim Ringer

“As a district, MACS is always thankful for business partnerships with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics industries,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, Superintendent. “This is a growing market and our students need to be prepared for these jobs. This partnership allows industry and schools to work together to provide skill-based curriculum in real world settings for our students as they attend school. We believe the STEM curriculum developed will be some of the strongest curriculum available to educators. We are excited that we have been a part of this tremendous work and will be able to allow our students to use it here in Mount Airy City Schools. We are thrilled that partnerships like this allow us to provide these great experience for teachers at little or no cost to the district.”

Students in MACS learn to think critically and become innovative problem-solvers through their STEAM framework. MACS leaders from the trip realized that utilizing a curriculum embedded in industry that uses the industry’s tools and perspective is essential to student’s deep understanding of mathematics and science.

MACS greatly values the partnership with Richard Childress Racing, which has allowed students to intern, visit and speak regularly with renowned engineers in the motorsports field. In addition to the partnership with RCR, MACS is also creating pathways with Surry Community College and North Carolina State University, further equipping students to become top recruited engineers. MACS is providing teachers experiences that they can translate directly to their classrooms.