Return to Headlines

W.F. Killip Elementary Earns STEM Provider Certification

Certification recognizes comprehensive program quality to distinguish STEM schools that meet high standards from other content and service agencies.


The school-improvement, assessment, and certification organization Cognia™, a nonprofit organization, recognizes W.F. Killip Elementary School with Cognia™ STEM Provider Certification.


“The certification is designed to differentiate organizations that simply put a STEM stamp on their materials and marketing and those that have products and services that meet high standards,” says Dr. Mark A. Elgart, president and CEO of Cognia. The certification process, Dr. Elgart notes, involves several stages of rigorous internal, external, and on-site review and assessment of performance against standards focused on contributions to the STEM pipeline, STEM learning, connections to real-world applications and community, and program efficacy.


Cognia STEM Provider Certification aims to help school leaders and community stakeholders identify

quality providers of STEM programs that:

  • Promote scientific inquiry and engineering design
  • Develop skill sets that transfer across career sectors
  • Bolster students’ capacity for critical thinking and perseverance through complex tasks
  • Engage students deeply in their local community in ways that connect learning to the real world.


While Cognia accredits schools and school districts and provides certification in Early Learning STEM and STEM schools, its provider certification is designed to assure quality among content and service providers, including professional development organizations, publishers, after-school providers, university-based STEM learning centers, and others.


“In reviewing Killip Elementary School, our evaluators were particularly impressed by the expertise and passion the organization brings to its work in extending STEM learning opportunities for young people,” noted Scott Davidson, senior director, STEM services at Cognia.


“Killip Elementary is proud to earn the Cognia seal of approval for STEM education,” said Principal Joe Gutierrez.  “The STEM Provider Certification demonstrates that we have exceeded rigorous expectations and is a true testament to our team in how they have been able to set us apart from other programs.”


Attaining Cognia STEM Provider Certification means that national and international providers meet rigorous standards in four domains of quality:

  • The Stem Pipeline: Certified providers demonstrate that they increase student participation in and partner/stakeholder engagement and support for STEM programs, and bring content experts, developers, and/or staff together to create and improve integrated STEM content.
  • STEM Learning: Certified providers encourage learner collaboration and independence in an inquiry-based learning environment; emphasize self-directed STEM learning guided by skilled educator as facilitators; and embed learners’ use of technology resources to develop skills and competencies related to the STEM workforce.
  • STEM Connections: Certified providers advance interdisciplinary and problem-based curriculum and activities with a focus on real-world applications; extend STEM learning through enrichment and/or extended day or year-long opportunities; demonstrate that learners acquire progressively higher levels of STEM knowledge and skills needed for future success.
  • STEM Program Efficacy: Certified providers offer high-quality training and professional learning associated with STEM curriculum, programming, and/or implementation; have an implementation framework for program participants or specific sites, and use a research- or evidence-based model for program evaluation and planning for continuous improvement.


W.F. Killip Elementary is part of a select, purposefully diverse group of providers that have earned the certification. To develop the certification, Cognia’s design team reviewed the best research available about quality STEM implementation and what constitutes student-directed learning environments, and paid close attention to federal policy guidance on what it takes to create engaged communities of practice and partner networks. The work also builds on Cognia’s STEM School Certification that has evaluated over 200 schools in 24 states during the past five years.


“In the long run, we want to create clarity about what it means to have quality implementation and bring together an ever-growing group of STEM certified institutions as a community of practice to improve the quality of STEM learning in the United States,” Davidson said. “Our vision is that all students have the opportunity to pave their own path into the future, using STEM skills and knowledge to make their way.”



About Cognia

Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning, and improvement services to institutions and other education providers. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, our 36,000 institutions serve and support nearly 25 million students and five million educators every day. Cognia serves as trusted partner in advancing learning for all learners. Find out more at


About W.F. Killip Elementary

The mission of W.F. Killip Elementary School is to provide each child with an equal opportunity to achieve their highest potential. We will offer developmentally appropriate challenges and experiences within a STEM based environment for social and academic growth in a positive, safe school community. By continuing collaborative relationships between parents, students, staff, and community members, we will maintain open channels of communication through mutual respect. More at