Is the STEM Academy a separate school from the rest of VMS?
No. The STEM Academy is a program within VMS. Students still attend the same Connections classes, follow the same student handbook, have the same administrators, and participate in the same activities as the rest of the school. The main difference is students will attend STEM-specific classes for their four academic areas (STEM Math, STEM Science, STEM Language Arts, and STEM Social Studies).
What type of student should apply?
The VMS STEM Academy is a challenging program. Students will inevitably struggle. However, that does not mean we only accept students with the highest grades. A successful STEM student is motivated, willing to try again if they fail, and is a self-starter.
Is the program only available to students from VMS' feeder schools? (S.L. Mason & Sallas Mahone)
No. Any 5th grader in the Valdosta City Schools is eligible to apply. We admit 100-120 students each year.
Can students only enter the program in 6th grade?
No. Students may enter the program at any grade level. However, the vast majority of students enter in the 6th grade. If a student wishes to participate in our accelerated math track and complete a high school credit of Algebra in 8th grade, they will have to begin the program in the 6th grade.
Is the STEM Academy a gifted program?
No. While many students in our STEM academy have been identified as gifted, the program is for all students. Students not in the STEM program will still receive gifted services in the regular VMS classroom.
Is homework assigned?
Yes. Students will have homework most nights. Our goal is for student to practice the skills they are learning in class. We encourage students to spend at least 15 minutes for each subject each night.
What if my child struggles?
All middle school students struggle. Our STEM students are learning to navigate middle school and a challenging curriculum at the same time. They will struggle. Middle school is the time to allow students to start taking more ownership of their learning. Struggle is an important part of this process. However, we don't want students to fail academically. We have supports in place and work closely with students to ensure their success.
Can STEM students still participate in VMS clubs and athletics?
Absolutely! STEM students are VMS students. Most of our STEM students participate in at least one club or athletic team. It is important to note that students will have to juggle these extracurricular activities along with their academics.