STEM education is an approach to teaching and learning that integrates the content and skills of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Along with content knowledge, a strong STEM program establishes student behaviors, which include engagement in inquiry, logical reasoning, collaboration, and investigation. The goal of STEM education is to prepare students for post-secondary study and the 21st century workforce.

STEAM fuses Arts and creativity with STEM to engage the whole child and foster high achievement in all areas by blending the arts and sciences. Both STEM and STEAM employ the artistic process and scientific method relying on exploration of ideas and possibilities. Both require high student engagement in exploring creative and critical thinking, which supports collaborative learning. STEAM complements 21st century skills, particularly the “4 C’s” of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.

Special Features​​​​

  • Specially trained teachers for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics studies
  • Alignment of student’s career pathway with postsecondary STEM program(s)
  • Students discover the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind the creative processes
  • High School Academy programs offer opportunities to participate in internships, job shadowing, career fairs, field trips, and extracurricular activities

STEM Programs

The NC STEM Learning Network and the NC Department of Public Instruction have developed three pillars as the foundation for development of STEM programs in North Carolina schools:

  • ​​Integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum, aligned with state, national, international and industry standards
  • On-going community and industry engagement
  • Connections with postsecondary education

​​​​In addition to traditional STEM programs, CMS offers a variety of high school programs with different concentrations in the subject areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Academy​​​ of Engineering

The Academy of Engineering is affiliated with the National Academy Foundation’s academy program and follows the National Practices for Career Academies. The program focuses on and answers an acute need for engineers in this country by educating students in the principles of engineering. Academy students follow a comprehensive program of study that complements their core academic courses in preparation for postsecondary studies in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics career fields, such as Digital Electronics, Biotechnology, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Aerospace, and other engineering disciplines.

Academy​​​ of Health Sciences

The Academy of Health Sciences is affiliated with the National Academy Foundation’s academy program and follows the National Practices for Career Academies. Students take courses in areas such as, biotechnology, genetics, nursing, therapeutics, and diagnostics. The program prepares students for college and a variety of careers in the health sciences sector, including planning, managing, and providing therapeutic services, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services, and biotechnology research and development. Students that successfully complete upper level classes may earn industry certification required for additional post-secondary training, as well as prepare for the first steps in healthcare career pathways.

Academy of Information Technology

The Academy of Information Technology is affiliated with the National Academy Foundation’s academy program and follows the National Practices for Career Academies. Students have the opportunity to learn programming, web design, video editing, computer systems, and other areas in the ever expanding digital workplace. Students that successfully complete upper level classes may earn industry certification required for additional post-secondary training, as well as prepare for the first steps in information technologies career pathways.

Automotive Technology ​

Automotive Technology is a comprehensive high school program accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) that prepares graduates for entry level placement in the automotive industry or entry to a manufacturer-sponsored two-year college program. The learning experience includes hands-on vehicle repairs in the students’ junior and senior years. Students are taught skills that align with the requirements needed to earn certification in Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) through NATEF and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). The program also offers work-based learning strategies, including apprenticeship, internship, job shadowing, entrepreneurship, cooperative education, and preparing students to obtain certification. Students can also take advantage of competitive events, community service, and leadership activities provided by SkillsUSA to learn essential standards and gain workplace readiness skills.


The Horticulture program prepares students for college and career pathways in the agricultural sector, allowing students to gain early knowledge of the sciences, business and technology of plant and animal production, and environmental and natural resources systems. Agricultural education provides students with a foundation to more than 300 careers in the agricultural industry, including production, financing, processing, marketing and distribution of agricultural products.

STEM and STEAM Schools

Transportation Zone​​​​​ ​School (Grade Level) Program ​Transportation ​Entry Grades ​​Requirements
Blue Winget Park (K-5) STEM Neighborhood Stops ​​​​​​​​​​​​ K-5 ​​​ ​Entrance & Continuation Requirements: None ​​ ​​
Blue Billingsville (K-5) STEM / Health Sciences & Medical Careers
Green Oakhurst (K-5) STEAM
Green, Violet University Area ES (K-5) STEM / Computer Science Immersion
Blue, Violet (West Meck only) Paw Creek (K-5) STEM / Computer Science Immersion
Violet ​ Morehead (K-8) STEM
6-8 ​​ Entrance: None; Continuation: Participate in a STE(A)M cocurricular each year; pass STE(A)M elective each year
Blue Kennedy (6-8) STEM
Green McClintock (6-8) STEAM
Blue, Violet (West Meck only) Coulwood (6-8) STEM
Blue, Green, Violet Harding (9-12) STEM / Construction Technologies, Automotive Technologies, 3D Design and Precision Manufacturing 9-12 ​​ Entrance: None
At 11th grade: transcript review**
Continuation: Pass STE(A)M / PLTW course annually; participate in a STE(A)M co-curricular activity ​​
Blue, Green, Violet Hawthorne (9-12) STEM / Careers in Health Sciences
Blue, Green, Violet Phillip O. Berry* (9-12) STEM
Violet North Meck (9-12) STEM / Automotive Technologies

*All students entering grade 9 will attend the Freshman Academy at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, where they will be introduced to the Academy of Engineering, Academy of Health Sciences, and Academy of Information Technology. In grade 10, students will choose a specific program to follow through graduation.

**Late Entry Transcript ​Review

Due to the specialized sequence of coursework taken at the Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology and Harding Institute of Technology, the on-line lottery application will not permit all grades to apply. Families of interested 10th graders at Harding Institute of Technology and 11th and 12th graders at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology must submit a request for Reassignment/ Transfer. To ensure a prospective student has the academic foundation to transition into the programs at these grades, a transcript review is necessary before a request for Reassignment/ Transfer can be processed. To apply using the transcript review and request for Reassignment/ Transfer process:

  • ​Contact the school directly to arrange an appointment for the transcript review.
  • Obtain an official transcript from the current school and bring it to the appointment in a sealed envelope. The prospective student’s transcript will be reviewed by the school staff. If the result of the transcript review indicates that the student has the necessary prerequisites for entry into the grade desired, acknowledgement of transcript review approval will be provided on school letterhead.
  • Complete the online Request for Reassignment/ Transfer form. For this form to be accepted, the family must indicate that they have reviewed the applicable Magnet Expectations Agreement. The family submits the school’s letter of acknowledgement as supporting documentation to accompany the online Request for Reassignment/ Transfer form registered with the Student Placement Office. Request approval is dependent upon grade level space availability.
  • Contact the CMS ESL department at (980) 343-0432 for transcript review assistance for students new to CMS from outside the USA.