Partnering Public School Districts, Local Businesses and Industry
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 starting in February. 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 specifically is focused around student interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields of study or careers that are heavy in those areas. All courses are graded on mastery of skills and competencies. Students either “master” the skill or they work towards mastery. At the end of the year if they master the majority of the skills in the class they receive an A. Course grades are not based off of quarter grades. The instruction they receive will be based on what they need and what they are ready to learn. Students that master courses receive an A for the course. Students that do not master the course continue to work on the material until they do master it. During the 2016-2017 school year Valley STEM will be accepting 9th and 10th graders, starting in February 2016.
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
- 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 Mara Banfield, Principal Curriculum & Instruction at firstname.lastname@example.org.