Springfield High School has been designated an Ohio STEM School, joining 40 others across the state in a network recognized for problem-based learning and preparing students for 21st century careers.
The application to become a designated science, technology, engineering and math school took a year, Springfield High School STEAM Academy Principal Teresa Dillon said.
The school’s application went before the Ohio Department of Education’s STEM Designation Committee on Monday and was unanimously approved.
“It’s external validation that we are a true STEM school,” Dillon said. “They said our application was strong in the curriculum area and in terms of staffing and community partners.”
Although the high school allows students to choose from different academies, including the Science, Technology Engineering, Applied Arts and Math Academy, the entire school gets the designation and will benefit from being a part of the network.
Seven schools were designated last week out of 10 applicants. To be accepted, schools must meet nine requirements, including offering project-based learning, curriculum with links to local businesses and strong relationships with local universities.
They join 34 previously designated Ohio STEM schools, such as the Dayton Regional STEM School and the Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield. These schools collaborate on training and share best practices, Dillon said.
“It seems that most of the STEM schools are charter schools or not large public schools, so we’re very proud of that,” Dillon said.
The STEAM Academy has grown rapidly from 200 students when it began in 2008 to 620 this past school year, when the “A” was added for applied arts.
“We hope that adding art to STEM that we’ll grab some more of those kids to get interested in the STEM program,” Dillon said. “It’s design, it’s graphics … there’s a whole lot of possibilities.”
The benefit for students comes from the high-quality curriculum and programs the network schools get to share, she said. Teachers will also get to learn new and innovative ways to reach students through the professional development opportunities this opens up.
“(We’re) very excited because it’s a very difficult process,” she said.
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