Ohio already has a powerful portfolio of innovative schools helping create educational experiences that prepare every student for what’s next after graduation.
This week, that portfolio got a little bigger. The Ohio STEM Committee, a council of state-appointed policymakers, agency directors and business leaders, met Thursday, April 10 to review applications from prospective “STEM schools.” The committee considered applications from nine new schools for its official STEM school designation.
The committee approved: Marysville STEM Early College High School, Akron’s National Inventors Hall of Fame School… Center for STEM Learning High School, Metro Early College Middle School, Valley STEM+ME2 Academy under the Mahoning County ESC, Dayton’s Thurgood Marshall High School, and Pickerington’s Ridgeview Junior High School.
A majority of these schools approached the Ohio STEM Learning Network for help in making the transition to STEM. To introduce you, we’ve included notes on one thing we found intriguing about each program.
The Ohio STEM Committee also provisionally approved Northwestern Local Schools’ Middle and High School applications for STEM School designation.
Grades 7-8, Ridgeview is implementing school-wide design challenges, leveraging community and industry partnerships to get students to mastery. As an in-district middle school, Ridgeview is seeking to provide education options for students in the district and the surrounding communities. Through a number of innovative strategies, building and district leadership are planning to prepare these students to be STEM-literate and fully prepared for multiple high school pathways. As a junior high school, Ridgeview has identified a number of opportunities to engage and collaborate with higher education and industry partners, including school-wide service learning projects.
In its second year of operation, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) STEM High School is the natural expansion for students and educators in Akron, Ohio. Similar to the middle school, students at the NIHF STEM High School are participating in problem-based learning and design-thinking in grades 9-12 on a daily basis. This school continues what was started with the middle school and continues the experience for the students, preparing them to be college and career ready.
Thurgood Marshall’s path to STEM exemplifies the way our network is designed to work. Thurgood has been identified as a School Improvement Grant (SIG) school and over the past two years has been implementing STEM as their transformation model, partnering with OSLN. As the school began to move toward STEM, the school’s team worked with their counterparts at Dayton Regional STEM School to build upon their existing and emerging community and industry partnerships. By working with this school and OSLN leadership, they were able to articulate a plan for Thurgood Marshall that builds off of the lessons already learned by the team at Dayton Regional STEM School.
Supported by a $12.5 grant from Ohio’s Straight A fund, Marysville Exempted Village School District will renovate a location to build a new manufacturing-related STEM school. The school will rely heavily on a partnership with a large local Honda plant, and will be an education option for the Marysville students. In fact, the Ohio STEM Committee was strongly impressed by the solid and evidenced partnerships not only articulated within Marysville’s application but demonstrated by the work that has already started this school year. Among the many innovations Marysville seeks to implement, they are interested in implementing the design cycle and mastery-based teaching and learning. OSLN has paired Marysville with the Central Ohio training center sites for on-going teacher professional development, as they continue their transition to STEM.
Serving grades 6 through 8, the STEM-focused Metro Early College Middle School started at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Ensuring students are well-prepared to enter Metro Early College High School is one goal. Taking students earlier means the school can close gaps that would make high school more difficult. The school is also able to offer students an even wider array of educational challenges. In this year alone, students have completed around everything from animal care at the Wilds to unmanned NASA missions to the science of garbage.
Mahoning County’s Valley STEM+ME2 Academy is a year-round school planning to open its doors in August 2015, with 100 students in 9th grade and serve 9th and 10th grades directly. The school leadership plans to spend the 2014-2015 school year planning and hiring “Educators in Residence” that will draw upon experiences in one or more other Ohio STEM schools prior to the school launch. Valley STEM+ME2 Academy will focus on STEM plus Manufacturing and Energy, with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship.
And if you have any questions about how our statewide network supports great teaching and learning, send us a note.