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Science academy looks to up enrollment

The director of a new local bio-science academy visited Springfield middle schools this week to stir up interest in the Global Impact STEM Academy.

“This is maybe the first time the students have had any exposure to what it is that we are doing at all or the first time they have had their eyes opened and even know that it is an option for them,” said Joshua Jennings, academy director.

As of now the academy has about a dozen completed applications, with an intended target enrollment of 75 ninth graders before the school opens its doors Aug. 21. While the academy will be based in Springfield, it will accept students from across Ohio.

Jennings spoke to more than 600 eighth grade students from Hayward, Schaefer and Roosevelt middle schools on Monday, pitching the opportunity for students to have a flexible education with options of how to achieve their goals.

Jennings also stressed that students at the academy will have a combination of real world experience and classroom learning.

“It is very relevant and real world. Problems come from industry and come from real life,” he said. “So the projects that students will be developing give them more freedom and flexibility and choice in how their education will be obtained.”

A concern expressed by several students Monday was the ability to participate in extracurriculars, such as sports and band.

Students can compete in athletic activities for their home schools, Jennings said, but activities such as band, choir and ROTC could be more complicated.

“Some of these extracurriculars that are really co-curriculars might take a little more work and a little more flexibility and collaboration with that district of residence to see how we can share that student and make sure that they have all the opportunities and options available to them,” he said.

Academy students would generally complete their high school coursework in their first two years. They would then use the next two years working on internships and post-secondary and early college options through Clark State Community College, and Ohio State and Wright State universities.

Dean Lynch, principal of Schaefer Middle School, said so far interest seems low at his school, likely because the academy is so new. But he said the presentations likely will drum up interest. He also said it’s a big plus to offer students in the community different educational options.

“The community and parents in the community need to be supportive of the opportunity,” said

The academy will be based at Clark State Community College on Leffel Lane, with plans to move to the old South High School building once renovations are completed.

Applications for the academy are preferred by Friday but will be accepted through June. If all 75 spots are filled, the academy will accept up to 100 students.

After the first 75 spots are filled, a lottery will determine what applicants will fill the other 25 spots.

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