New STEM Academy opens at Cincinnati State

Cincinnati is home to one of just three new state-sponsored STEM community charter schools in opening in Ohio this fall.

The STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy, a high school, is housed at Cincinnati State, and opened its doors Sept. 4. The other two new community schools are in Cleveland and Dayton, sponsored by local public schools systems and universities.

STEM schools are highly focused on developing science and math skills, with a emphasis on project-based learning and partnerships with the local community.

The city already has two other STEM schools: Taft STEM Elementary and Hughes STEM High School. Both are part of Cincinnati Public Schools.

These state-sponsored schools are non-profit and students don't have to pay tuition to attend. Through the partnership with Cincinnati State, STEM Academy students can take part in dual enrollment, earning college credit at no cost. Students who choose could earn up to an Associate's degree while still in high school.

Like most STEM programs in Ohio, the new program one is on a growth path. This year's enrollment was limited to 200 students. Plans are to expand to 800 students in four grades and also offer a full slate of athletics.

The STEM Academy is focused on students who haven't fared well in traditional schooling and may have turned to a GED program. or dropped out of school instead, says Beth Hensley, superintendent of The STEM Academy.

“The interest shown in this project has been quite encouraging,” Hensley says. “To date we’ve hired an individual with a PhD in biology, two engineers with extensive professional and industry experience, and in many cases individuals with extensive teaching experience as well as significant professional experience."

The STEM Academy will be housed in leased space in the engineering wing of the main building on Cincinnati State’s Clifton campus. Students will wear uniforms and work on provided laptops. Meals will be served by the College's culinary program in a cafeteria solely for the high schoolers.

By Feoshia H. Davis
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