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Partnering Public School Districts, Local Businesses, and Industry

Valley STEM + ME2 Academy

The STEM school is a collaboration of partnering public school districts, local businesses and industry partners, the Ohio STEM Learning Network, and higher education institutions. There are only 19 STEM designated schools in the state of Ohio. STEM schools are public schools that any student in the state of Ohio can attend. STEM schools are not Charter Schools, they fall under their own set of laws (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3326).The Governance Board is a public entity and has representation from different external stakeholder groups and unlike a charter school, it is not privately owned or operated. The application for STEM designation was accepted by the Ohio Department of Education STEM Subcommittee.

There is an application process that each student must fill out to be considered for the program. The application will be available in October. Students are chosen based on a lottery system. Students’ grades are not a determining factor for acceptance. Students cannot be suspended or expelled from their home district before they apply.

If a student is in the STEM school, they are still considered a student of their home district. They can still participate in extracurricular activities, sports and special events in their home district. The scores get shared with the district, just like students attending a career and technical center program. Each district has to provide transportation or payment in lieu of transportation to students attending the STEM school.

Valley STEM believes...

  • in challenging the traditional learning environment
  • districts can maximize what is provided to students through collaboration
  • it takes a global community to educate a child (the ME2 philosophy – “Me too”)
  • we need to focus on the strengths of the Mahoning Valley and providing critical thinkers to the workforce and college preparedness

Valley STEM...

  • integrates courses that make sense
  • makes connections to the real world
  • engages students in relevant topics related to areas of interest
  • partners with universities, businesses and industries that are cutting edge and in need of skilled students and workers
  • groups students together into cohorts based on interest, learning style, academic preparedness, and personality;
  • allows for students to gain mastery in topics
  • provides post-secondary, career technical and problem-based instructional experiences in where the main focus is not on test preparation but on hands-on
  • learning related to STEM, and Advanced Manufacturing fields of study

For more information

Email Jacci Duda, STEM Secretary at

Valley STEM + ME2 Academy

The Valley STEM + ME2 Academy’s mission is to prepare students in 9-10 grade with skills necessary to compete in the global economy while nurturing the characteristics of discovery, invention, application, and entrepreneurship.

STEM Governing Board Members

  • Ashley Totin - STEM President
  • John Kuzma - Secretary
  • Dr. Stephen Rodabaugh - STEM Board Member
  • Dr. Karen Larwin - STEM Board Member
  • Craig Hockenberry - STEM Board Member
  • Dr. Mara Banfield - STEM Superintendent
  • Jacci Duda - STEM Secretary

Additional Board Information

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