McKissick Academy of Science & Technology (MAST) has been named a 2022 Magnet School of Excellence by Magnet Schools of America, the national association for magnet and theme-based schools. The Magnet Schools of America Merit Award of Excellence awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, and strong parent and community involvement. MAST is one of only three elementary schools in South Carolina to receive this award.
“Our educators have dedicated themselves to creating and delivering authentic, project-based curriculum that is built around the three pillars of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM): Biomedical Science, Computer Science, and Engineering Design,” explained MAST principal Heather Touchberry, “and our goal is to provide STEM excellence through all three within every classroom. It is a true testament to the teachers and staff that persevere each day to ensure their students are motivated and engaged to achieve high levels of success in school and beyond. We are very excited and humbled by this award.”
McKissick Academy of Science & Technology (MAST) serves Pre-K through to 5th grade through a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) theme that combines traditional learning with a Project-Based Learning focus that leads students to Ask, Explore, Model, Evaluate, and Explain at all grade levels. In addition to the project-based learning in all classrooms, students have access to the “Shark Tank,” and maker-space in which students will have the opportunity to showcase their innovations. MAST has a unique partnership with the Pickens County Career & Technology Center, Clemson University College of Engineering, and Clemson University College of Education, as well as clubs for robotics, coding, gaming, and more.
Danny Merck, Superintendent of the School District of Pickens County, could not contain his excitement for MAST. “We, at SDPC, know that MAST is a school of excellence. The academic accomplishments of the students, the engagement of families, the commitment of faculty, the community partnerships, and the leadership of MAST are undeniable. We are thrilled that Magnet Schools of America recognizes this and now a much larger audience knows it, too. We hope this national recognition will help further impact and provide unique opportunities to students in Pickens County. Sincere gratitude to all at MAST who continue to work tirelessly and made this award possible.”
National merit awards are given to magnet schools that demonstrate a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation and diversity efforts, and strong parent and community involvement. To receive a national merit award, members of Magnet Schools of America submit a detailed application that is scored by a panel of educators. These schools are judged on their demonstrated ability to raise student academic achievement, promote racial and socioeconomic diversity, provide integrated curricula and instruction, and create strong family and community partnerships that enhance the school’s magnet theme.
Magnet Schools of America (MSA), a national organization representing over 4,300 Magnet schools and programs, annually recognizes Magnet schools and programs for their commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs, and parent/community involvement. Magnet Schools of America’s national certification process is designed to recognize the hard work of the best magnet schools in the nation and to help them as they grow.