Stewardship, citizenship, and leadership are central to the mission and vision at Sope Creek Elementary School where young students develop skills to be the leaders of tomorrow. The nearly 1,200 students – from preschool to fifth grade – have used STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education as a catalyst to change the world.

“We have helped our students view the world as problem solvers. Even our youngest learners know that they have the potential to change the world,” said Sope Creek Principal Dr. Doug Daugherty.

Sope Creek Elementary teachers, together with their students, explore global problems through an interdisciplinary approach focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. The educators create lessons that give students the opportunity to serve as young agents of change in their community.

As a result, a culture of care has spread throughout the school. After learning about the importance of conserving wildlife habitats, first-grade students at Sope Creek jumped into action. They decided to help the Atlanta Zoo by designing enclosures specific to the most endangered animals.

“It is exciting to see our students demonstrating com- passion and feeling empowered enough to imagine bold solutions” explained first-grade teacher Nadia White.

As second-grade students explored past and present Georgia, their research unearthed the pollution issue currently impacting the Savannah River. So, in partnership with Coca-Cola’s litter catcher initiative, students created their own designs to decrease water pollution, doing their part as stewards of their home state.

To fight the declining bee population, Sope Creek fourth-graders planted wildflowers in the garden beds right outside their classroom doors. Thanks to the 9- and 10-year-olds research and planning, the bees will have a reliable food source.

Each year, Sope Creek Elementary chooses a theme. This year’s theme “Hero Makers” not only emphasizes the importance of being heroes but also helps students recognize their potential of being the heroes of today and tomorrow.

“We are most proud of the impact on our students who see the world differently,” Dr. Daugherty added. “They know that they have the ability to make a difference and to be the leaders to make change happen.”