In 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill allowing K-5 elementary schools to apply for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) designation. Two of Reynoldsburg City Elementary Schools, Summit Road Elementary and Herbert Mills Elementary, applied and were awarded STEM designation following a presentation to a committee and the Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
The STEM designation means Summit Road Elementary School and Herbert Mills Elementary School are Ohio’s first STEM designated elementary schools and Reynoldsburg City Schools is the first district in the state to offer a K-12 STEM pipeline.
The committee found both elementary schools offered proposals that satisfied the requirements of earning a STEM designation including working partnerships with both private and public entities, a rigorous, diverse and integrated curriculum that includes the arts and humanities as well as an emphasis on personalized learning and teamwork.
“This is a major accomplishment, not only for our students and the District, but for Ohio,” said Reynoldsburg City Schools Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning. “STEM-based learning remains a priority in our district as we work to ensure all of our students leave us college and career ready. I am incredibly proud of Ms. Drury and Mr. Coffey and all of the staff who participated and supported the STEM designation process. I’d also like to thank the panel for recognizing Reynoldsburg City Schools as Ohio’s first K-12 STEM district.”
Summit Road Elementary School and Herbert Mills Elementary School were already recognized as STEM schools by OLSN. Summit Road Elementary School was also awarded a National Blue Ribbon Schools honor in 2016. The teaching and learning of students at Summit Road Elementary expands beyond the confines of the school walls. Students are provided one-to-one technology devices in the classroom for easy access to instructional programs and resources that provide individualized pathways for students. Outside the classroom, students can engage in learning at the campus wetlands with yurts, the student-created butterfly garden, or the new playground Tinkerspace designed by first graders.
“It is very exciting to see OSLN and ODE designate elementary schools as STEM school across Ohio. We are honored to see Summit Road Elementary be recognized as one of the first STEM-designated elementary schools in the state.” said Summit Road Elementary School Principal Melissa Drury. “It validates our belief that STEM education is good for all students and given the right environment and experiences students thrive and engage in design thinking and 21st century skills.” A Research and Development STEM school, Herbert Mills Elementary School utilizes innovative and cutting-edge programs like the BCI Science School and STEMcation to incorporate 21st century skills and produce resilient students who are problem solvers, collaborators and design thinkers. Herbert Mills Elementary School’s administrators and staff guide students through a process of creative exploration through a Humanities/Global Impact lens within the STEM-units designed by teachers. To provide rich, intentional, and relevant experiences for students, the leadership of Herbert Mills Elementary School partner with local organizations and community members to foster the dynamic social and cultural impact the school desires to reflect.
“On behalf of Herbert Mills Elementary School and the Reynoldsburg City School District, I would like to thank the OSLN and the ODE for this recognition,” said Herbert Mills Elementary School Principal Brian Coffey. “We want every student to have access to a STEM-based education, and starting in elementary school will help our kids be successful in middle school, high school and beyond.”
According to teachforamerica.org, there will be 8 million STEM jobs available in the U.S., yet the majority of high school graduates will be ill-equipped to fill the roles. Reynoldsburg City Schools now has two elementary schools, a middle school and two high school academies with college and career readiness pathways to prepare students for STEM careers.
“We also have to thank our District leaders, teachers and of course, our partners, who have been instrumental in helping Summit Road Elementary and Herbert Mills Elementary facilitate STEM thinking,” concluded Ms. Drury.