St. Ambrose becomes first STEM school in Medina County

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Ohio State Board of Education, District 5, member, Lisa Woods visited St. Ambrose School Sept. 11 to present a banner

BRUNSWICK --- Being one of only 44-in-4,000 of most anything is usually cause for celebration. And students at St. Ambrose School did just that Sept. 11 when Ohio State Board of Education, District 5, member, Lisa Woods visited the school to present a banner recognizing St. Ambrose's designation as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) school.

"It really helps get kids ready for the future - particularly the business partnerships," she said of STEM programming across the state. "For example, here at St. Ambrose, they are partnering with NASA. We do hope kids are getting more of the 'soft skills' they are not getting at a lot of schools."

History of STEM in the state

Ohio has been developing STEM school concepts for the past decade, Woods said.

The current designation program distinguishes schools that emphasize the importance of the four disciplines into their curriculum. To earn the designation, St. Ambrose had to form working partnerships with both public and private higher education and business organizations, as well as offer a "rigorous, diverse, integrated, and project-based curriculum to students," Woods said.

In short, STEM teaching and learning puts the emphasis more on the problem solving process than traditional memorization techniques.

Local flexibility

According to St. Ambrose Principal, Lisa Cinadr, STEM - or, more accurately in the case of St. Ambrose, STREAM, since the school also integrates religion and art curriculum - students are energized by the approach.

"There are many more opportunities for that 'a-ha' moment," she said. "We all learn differently and this allows us to pull out of students what they didn't know they had."

Cinadr said the year-long process of applying for state STEM designation, including the 120 page application, charged the school with proving its use of 21st Century teaching methods and use of state, local, and diocesan STEM teaching and learning standards across curriculum.

"For example if the 'problem' is the Roman Empire, students will learn about the societal components in Social Studies, and then in Math, look at the mechanical innovations as students work together to create a product. They start with the end in mind and kind of work backward."

Brave new world

The goal of educators, she said, is to anticipate what problem solving skills these students, as adults, will need to compete in an ever more rapidly developing future.

"We are teaching to standards, but we have flexibility," Cinadr said.

The honor of St. Ambrose's STEM school designation was twofold, given the fact that not only is it one of the only schools in the state to have earned the designation, it is the first in Medina County.

In her comments to the audience upon Woods' presentation of the school's STEM banner, Cinadr made a fairly safe prediction about the not so distant future.

"We are the only school in Medina County that is STEM designated, but watch for more everybody," she said. "It's coming."

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Article St. Ambrose becomes first STEM school in Medina County compiled by Original article here

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