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UPES CLAS Distinction

University Place Elementary is among 31 schools in Alabama vying for statewide honors. The CLAS School of Distinction Award recognizes schools or programs that serve as outstanding educational models for other schools in Alabama. The CLAS Banner School for each district will also be named from among these schools of distinction.

Led by UPE STEM coordinator and reading interventionist Patsy McGahey, University Place's program was titled Storybook STEM:

During the 2019-2020 school year, University Place Elementary School implemented its school-wide, integrated reading and STEM curriculum called Storybook STEM. Storybook STEM is designed to integrate 21st century skills, collaborative learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving all while improving reading comprehension skills. All students in grades Kindergarten to fifth grade participated in weekly STEM lessons that are directly tied to a piece of literature. They were given the opportunity to engage with texts in ways that were novel and hands-on, as well as practice and improve their critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaborative learning skills.


The CLAS Banner School program was created in 2001 to recognize schools in Alabama that showcase outstanding programs and services to students. 138 school programs were nominated for this prestigious recognition.