Bio-Med Science Academy, the year-round public high school located on the campus of Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, has been granted formal STEM designation in the state of Ohio by the Ohio STEM Subcommittee.
The transition of designation from community high school to independent Science, Technology, Engineering and Math school places the Academy on par with similar STEM schools across Ohio, while allowing it to capitalize on the uniqueness of its rural setting and STEM+M (plus Medicine) disciplinary focus.
The designation also opens up the possibility for additional state and federal funding opportunities and allows students enrolled in the Academy, who have been unable to participate in interscholastic activities, athletic and extracurricular eligibility in their districts of residence.
It makes the academy the 12th public school district in Portage County and eliminates the need for a sponsoring district, said Mike Kerrigan, president of the academy's governing authority. Up to this point, the academy has been sponsored by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.
"Receiving formal STEM designation is the next step in our progression and the benefits of the transition are meaningful to so many of our constituents, not the least of which are our students and their parents," said Stephanie Lammlein, director of the academy. "We have been leveraging the best practices of the Ohio STEM Learning Network to build a model rural STEM+M school in northeast Ohio dedicated to creating an environment for improved student performance, especially in the STEM+M disciplines. This designation recognizes our efforts and allows us to move forward in pursuing our mission."
STEM designation brings the academy into an elite group of nearly 20 STEM schools and regional training centers across Ohio where the sharing of effective practices in problem-based integrated learning methods - the core of STEM education - is pervasive.
Ohio is a leader in STEM education cooperation through the statewide Ohio STEM Learning Network and the national STEMx network.
"As a core member of STEMx, OSLN is a major part in a grassroots, on-the-ground movement of state STEM organizations with foundations in real-world instruction both in and out of classrooms, and partnerships among education, business, government and community-based stakeholders," said Dustin Pyles, director of operations, OSLN. "The teaching and learning practices that are accessible through STEMx provide limitless ideas and inspiration for students, parents, educators, policymakers and business and community leaders in Ohio. Our goal is for the Academy to be both a recipient of and collaborator in OSLN and STEMx networks' efforts."
The Ohio STEM Learning Network not only assists in starting up STEM schools, but also leverages existing STEM schools and programs to spread effective practices and tools across the state and the nation. OSLN is also a member of STEMx, a nationwide network that provides a platform to share and spread quality STEM teaching and learning practices to grow tomorrow's innovators. STEMx is managed by BattelleEd, a venture of Battelle that builds and manages STEM Innovation Networks.
Bio-Med Science Academy's unique position as one of the first rural STEM schools in the country and the only STEM school in the nation housed on an academic health center campus, allows its teachers and students to take advantage of sophisticated research laboratories and guest lectures from an array of scientific researchers, professors and medical professionals to offer an innovative and progressive learning environment that cultivates academic excellence and rigor in the STEM+M disciplines while nurturing creativity, inventiveness and community in its students.
The Academy, which welcomed its first cohort of ninth-grade students in August 2012, has grown to include formal and informal partnerships with various local school districts, businesses, chambers of commerce, non-profits and higher education institutions. Open to any student in Ohio, the Academy was developed to serve students primarily from rural communities in Portage County and other surrounding counties and currently enrolls students from 17 school districts across five counties.
The academy is now enrolling incoming 9th graders, but Kerrigan said it is too late for current 9th graders to sign up for next year's 10th grade class.
To learn more about Bio-Med Science Academy, visit www.biomedscienceacademy.org.
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