Munford Elementary School:
Munford Elementary School, built in 2001, is one of 17 schools which comprises the Talladega County School System. Located in Munford, Alabama near the foothills of the Talladega National Forest and the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains, Munford Elementary is the first school in the Southeast that is modeled after a forest and incorporates forestry, conservation, and environmental education themes into the basic curriculum. It was the first school chosen in the U.S. Forest Service Adopt-a-School Program. Through a process called theme immersion, the instructional design of the school uses elements of the physical design and interactive exhibits throughout the building to convey an environmental theme.
The cafeteria features a stream bed mural and a 250-gallon aquarium. A stone path runs the entire length of the main hallway and has natural looking trees appearing to grow from the walls. Each exhibit is sponsored through successful partnerships with the Alabama Forestry Commission, Talladega County Soil and Conservation, U.S. Forest Service, Georgia Pacific, and many other local agencies. The museum-quality displays and interactive exhibits are correlated with the Alabama Course of Study and provide authentic learning experiences for the students. Products from Trees, Recycling, Animal Tracks, Water Quality, Soil Profiles, and Careers in Natural Resources are some of the many exhibits found throughout the school. Students at Munford Elementary have the unique opportunity to be immersed in forestry, conservation, and environmental education through daily learning activities.
Students work extremely hard at Munford Elementary to achieve academic goals; additionally, students also use their creative energy to pursue their passions, find solutions to authentic problems, and collaborate with peers and adults to give back to others in their community. Munford Elementary provides a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development. All students participate in the school's STEAM curriculum and have daily opportunities for inquiry-based learning through real-world applications. The school’s after-school program and enrichment clubs help students meet the state standards in core academic subjects such as reading and math while also offering students a broad array of inquiry-based learning activities that complement their academic classes. In addition to the before and after-school program, students have opportunities to participate in the MES Chorus, STEAM Team, Leadership Houses, Green Team, School Greeters, Library Assistants, Reading Buddies, Safety Patrol, Office Assistants, and Student Lighthouse Team.
Teachers at Munford Elementary meet regularly to plan project-based learning units which integrate STEAM opportunities throughout the learning process. All teachers have regular, embedded professional development opportunities through collaboration with the STEAM and Makerspace teachers, through monthly grade level meetings, and through professional development sessions. Parents and stakeholders are provided with frequent communication related to the school's progress towards the integration of STEAM, as well as, regular opportunities to engage with teachers in STEAM-related activities and events.
Data reflects that students at Munford Elementary are growing and learning. In 2018, the school's state report card increased by four points. In 2017, students in third grade scored at or above the national average on the ACT Aspire in reading, writing, and math. Students in fourth grade scored at or above the national average on the ACT Aspire in English, reading, writing, and science. Students in fifth grade scored at or above the national average on the ACT Aspire in English, reading, and writing. During the 2017-2018, students increased their reading and math proficiency on the STAR Renaissance assessments by 21 percent in reading and by 18 percent in math. Munford Elementary staff and teachers continually seek opportunities for improvement and will continue to do so as we embrace AdvancEd STEM Certification in the pursuit of providing student-centered, engaging instruction to all of our students.
Munford Elementary School is a beacon of instructional excellence in Talladega County. Munford Elementary was recognized as a 2018-2019 CLAS Banner School of Distinction for our dedication to integrating STEAM into environmental efforts. Students at Munford Elementary have the unique opportunity to be immersed in forestry, conservation, and environmental education through learning activities found right inside their school building and in the outdoor classrooms on their campus. Through the #GoGreenwithSTEAM project, first graders studied the Red Emperor Tulip in their Journey North Test Gardens. PreK and kindergarten students participated in #GoGreenwithSTEAM by hosting a community salad party after they grew their own lettuce. With the help of high school students, teachers used this project to encourage students to eat healthier and learn how to grow their own food.
Educators at MES use project-based learning (PBL) as the primary lens for focusing instruction to provide authentic learning experiences for students. Throughout the past few years, MES has directed its focus on enhancing the school-wide curriculum through the incorporation of a cross-curricular STEAM initiative.
The integration of STEAM has led to student engagement in coding, 3-D printing, robotics, and a hands on application of the engineering and design process while retaining our focus on environmental education. It is with great pleasure that we invite our teachers, students and stakeholders to join us in our focus of #GoGreenwithSTEAM.