D.L. Jamerson Elementary School Marks 10 years of Excellence in Engineering and Technical Education

In the 2002-2003 academic year as FLATE was formulating its initial strategy for developing a technical education pathway that would be tailored to Florida’s educational system as well as address modern workforce needs, the Pinellas County School district contacted FLATE with an interesting challenge. Their objective was to bring engineering into the elementary school environment as a viable way to strengthen STEM education and provide both rigor and relevance to the curriculum. Douglas L. Jamerson (DLJ) Elementary School requested that we partner with them on this U.S Department of Education funded initiative. The result of that collaboration was the DLJ Elementary Center for Mathematics and Engineering in St. Petersburg Florida.

Robert Poth, the first principal of DLJ Elementary, was the driving force for this idea.  During the school’s
 initial planning period, he gathered a group of gifted teachers that were willing to explore a new way to teach elementary school students. While the school campus was being physically prepared to open, this group worked on opening a school that would present this new engineering based learning experience. They met weekly with FLATE for professional development, to discuss and develop a curriculum while spending the time in between integrating these suggestions into an elementary engineering curriculum that would be used in all of the subjects to be taught every day, all year long.  

The results of their efforts are impressive. The school opened with a full complement of students with at least
 two classes at each grade level. Granted the student test scores that first year were nothing to write home about and the school received an average rating. However, by the fourth year of operation, starting with K, first, second and third graders moving into fourth and fifth grade, DLJ’s test scores and school rating started going up. The school never looked back. Today, DLJ is an A rated elementary school, and its reputation has spread across the state and in the nation. For our readers in elementary education interested in blending engineering into your teaching day, check out their website, give them a call, or just Google D.L. Jamerson Elementary. You will be pleased with the results.   

Last month DLJ Elementary celebrated its 10th anniversary. This was an all-day event culminating with an open house and evening picnic for the public. That single event drew more than 700 people from the St. Petersburg neighborhoods the school services. Attendees included former DLJ students and teachers, as well as city and state dignitaries. So happy anniversary D.L. Jamerson Elementary School! Your first 10 years were a whopping success! Who knows what the next 10 years will bring, but for Jamerson it is bound to be good.    

For more information on D.L. Jamerson Elementary School visit www.jamerson-es.pinellas.k12.fl.us. For information on FLATE’s STEM focused programs for K14 students visit www.fl-ate.org, and www.madeinflorida.org, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. 

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