Parents hope children can continue STEM program

by: Paige Hansen Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Four new Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools will open to students Monday, including the first STEM school for elementary-aged students.
Palisades Park will open in southwest Charlotte as a neighborhood school and a magnet school.
Some parents have children who will be going to the school because they live nearby. The parents are worried their children won't have the option to continue with a STEM program beyond fifth grade.
Jessica Turton helps her two elementary students with their new school supplies, which they'll be unpacking next week at their new school. Palisades Park is a science, technology, engineering and math institution also called a STEM school.
"Technology is just tremendously important in this day and age," Turton said.
There are elements of STEM throughout the school. Plexiglas gives students an inside look at how the school's utilities work and affords an opportunity for students to ask questions.
In the library, there are half as many books as there are in other elementary schools because they are in digital form.
Tabatha Hvozdik unpacked her classroom Monday and said STEM gives a reason and purpose for everything students do, and puts an emphasis on early career exploration.
"Every time we do a new unit, it's going to be what careers could match this unit." Hvozdik said.
Those sorts of opportunities and focus have mothers like Turton wishing for more STEM programs.
Her students will go to Palisade Park because it's their neighborhood school.
Only 25 students per grade enrolled through the magnet lottery are guaranteed to continue with STEM after Palisades Park. 
"We want all children to have the opportunity to continue if they choose," Turton said.
Turton wants her students who applied but didn't get in through the lottery, to continue with STEM.
The school's principal said they have had monthly meetings with the district so a STEM school might open in the southwest area in the future.
The school, built in part to relieve over-crowding at two nearby schools -- Winget Park and Lake Wylie Elementary -- has a capacity for 800 students. Already, 700 are enrolled.

Palisades Park was built using 2007 bond money. 

For more on stem programs at CMS, visit the following link: