Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the STEM Institute?
    • The STEM Institute is a specialized program within the Newton County School System located at the Newton College and Career Academy designed to “attract” students with a strong aptitude in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  The STEM Institute was certified by the state of Georgia in 2016.
  2. What type of specialized programs are offered in the STEM Institute? 
    • The STEM program is designed around the Biotechnology pathway and the Engineering Drafting and Design pathway. 
  3. Are STEM Associates still a part of Newton College and Career Academy? 
    • Absolutely. STEM Associates beginning in the ninth grade take their math, science, and technology classes in the STEM Institute building cohorted with other STEM Associates while other subjects are taken in the main high school building.
  4. Will STEM Associates be able to participate in all other activities? 
    • Yes. STEM Associates are assigned to their respective base schools and attend there during the first block.  In doing so STEM Associates will be eligible to participate in all sports and extracurricular programs.
  5. Who can apply to the STEM Institute? 
    • Any rising ninth grade student can apply to the STEM Institute, but you must live in the Newton County School System to register and attend the institute. Many students whose families intend to move to Newton County will apply in advance of their actual move.
  6. How many students are in the STEM Institute?
    • There are approximately 200 students enrolled at the STEM Institute per year. Each year, the STEM Institute, using a competitive application process, enrolls around 56 new freshmen as a cohort.
  7. Are STEM Institute Associates expected to maintain a certain academic standard to remain enrolled? 
    • Yes. STEM Associates must maintain a 3.0 average or above in all classes. Students who receive a grade below a 3.0 in any two classes are placed on academic probation and must earn a 3.0 or higher at the end of the year to remain in the institute.
  8. How does a student apply to be a part of the STEM Institute? 
    • The STEM Institute is designed for entry at the ninth-grade level. Students who are interested in applying must apply in the early spring of eighth grade.  Applicants are evaluated on several criteria including middle school grades, teacher evaluations, standardized tests, interviews and project-based scenarios.  Students are then ranked according to these criteria, and top students receive an offer of admission in April.
  9. What type of student are you looking for? 
    • Accelerated and self motivated students with a love of learning and a particular interest in STEM.
  10. What type of transportation will be offered to STEM Institute Associates from their base schools? 
    • The county provides bus transportation from and to the assigned base school during the school day.
  11. What makes the STEM Institute program different from other specialized programs? 
    • The acceleration, depth and breadth of the curriculum and the integration of technology help set apart the STEM Institute from other specialized programs. Our STEM Associates are cohorted together from the beginning of the ninth grade and as they progress through the Biotechnology or Engineering Drafting and Design pathway they will participate in a rigorous and rewarding program.  Our STEM Associates will be challenged to think critically and prepare for their future education, career, and leadership.  We also offer flexibility for students to take the classes that most interest them as they reach the 11th and 12th grade including Dual Enrollment. Moreover, the student’s senior year research and related internships go far beyond the normal scope of traditional and specialized programs. STEM Associates are involved in many Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO's) such as TSA and HOSA and can become involved in nationally recognized competitions such as the Siemens Competition, Intel Science Talent Search, Science and Engineering Fairs, and Robotics competitions to name a few. The fact that students are also able to participate in all other facets of traditional high school education is an added bonus.
  12. Does the emphasis on academics prevent students from participating in other non-academic activities? 
    • No, the opposite is true. While there is a heavy science and math academic focus, students are encouraged to get a well-rounded education and to participate in all aspects of high school and career academy life. In fact, most of the students do so.  Many of our STEM Associates become leaders in their non-curricular activities such as band, chorus, sports and many other opportunities they may have. 
  13. How would you measure the success of the program to this point? 
    • The strongest measure of success can be viewed in the success rate of our students when they transition to college. Each year STEM Institute alumni talk about how easy their college experience is after the strong preparation they received in our program. Another positive indicator includes the success of the students on such measures as the SAT and National Merit programs. More importantly, the STEM Associates in the program have achieved in several non-tangible areas such as volunteer work, leadership activities, and other non-academic areas such as music, drama, and athletics.
  14. Can a STEM Associate drop out of the program? 
    • Very rarely does this happen, however, STEM Associates sometimes find the program is not a good fit and they are able to transition elsewhere. STEM Associates must attend during the year in which they start however in March/April of the school year they can request to withdraw from the program. If they withdraw or are removed, they must still meet all existing high school graduation requirements. STEM Associates who leave the program can request to stay at Newton College and Career Academy or return to their districted high school.