What is STEM?
STEM is a nationally recognized educational program that emphasizes the use of technology and replaces the standard teacher-driven classroom with one powered by problem-solving, exploration and discovery. It requires the students to actively engage in a situation to find a solution.
STEM is much more than the four subject areas that form its acronym, (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). STEM is a unique approach to teaching and learning that fosters creativity and innovative thinking in all students.
STEM education features strong levels of collaboration among higher education, business and community partners to help develop relevant curriculum and provide internships, mentorships and co-operative education opportunities to help students connect classroom learning to real world experiences.
How is STEM different from a traditional approach to education?
STEM education is a direct response to the realization that Ohio’s future will be built on its capacity for innovation, invention and creative problem solving.
STEM schools are centers of creativity and innovation that provide challenging, student-centered, inquiry-based educational experiences that are cross-disciplinary in nature and relevant to the real world. Unlike traditional school experiences where different subject areas are treated as separate silos, STEM education emphasizes the technological design process and integrates subjects in order to make connections across the disciplines. In a STEM classroom, students develop analytical and creative skills through investigation and problem solving. STEM moves beyond an emphasis on simple test performance and focuses instead on developing higher-level thinking skills.
Is it true that STEM is only for a select number of gifted or students interested in careers in math and science?
Not at all. While increasing the number of young people who choose careers in STEM fields is certainly one objective driving STEM education, it is only part of the story. STEM education develops skills that have a much broader application. STEM emphasizes collaboration, communication, research, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity – skills needed to be successful in today’s world, regardless of specific interests or career goals.
STEM education also places a strong emphasis on personalizing educational experiences to best suit students’ individual learning styles and interests, which means STEM education has something to offer to every student.
iSTEM will attract students from diverse social and academic backgrounds. All students at iSTEM will be supported to achieve at high academic levels. Students will generally be applying from Geauga and surrounding counties.
What will iSTEM provide students?
iSTEM will provide a small and intellectually vibrant learning community designed to serve students who want a personalized learning experience that prepares them for a connected world, where math, science and technology are vitally important. All iSTEM students will engage in a personally relevant and academically rigorous curriculum within a safe and trusting environment.
iSTEM has a holistic approach to educating students—focusing on cognitive, social, emotional and physical development through experiential learning, service learning and family and community support. Each family is an integral component of iSTEM’s decision-making process.
Where will iSTEM Geauga Early College High School be located?
iSTEM will be housed on the Auburn Career Center Campus. The iSTEM academic facilities are currently undergoing renovation and will be ready for the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Is there support for students at iSTEM ?
iSTEM will create a system of academic support and mentoring to allow motivated students to have access to the most challenging learning opportunities while assuring that success is within their reach. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and take advantage of support opportunities.
What about technology?
Innovative usage of technology will be a cornerstone of the iSTEM experience. Each student will be given an electronic devise for use both in school and at home. Our online learning management system will keep parents up-to-date on the academic progress of their child, and will allow parents access to instructional practices taking place via video archiving. Teacher websites will be interactive and will allow for 24/7 access to coursework and communication links with iSTEM staff. Classrooms, laboratories and project spaces will be equipped with state of the art educational technology, such as video conferencing equipment, which will allow teachers and students to connect with, and learn beyond, the brick and mortar of the building.
If my son/daughter enrolls in an Auburn Career Center program his/her junior year, will that be the same as attending iSTEM ?
No. Although iSTEM is located on Auburn’s Campus, they are two separate educational options.
If an iSTEM student chooses to enroll in an Auburn Career Pathway program (half day program) for their junior and senior year, the second portion of the day would be spent at iSTEM continuing his/her academic coursework.
Will transportation be provided to iSTEM Geauga Early College High School?
Parents will need to check with their district of residence regarding transportation options. The Ohio Revised Code 3327.01 states that school districts may provide transportation for students in grades 9-12. If your district of residence buses high school students to Auburn Career Center, then a bus route may already be in place.
Will iSTEM Geauga Early College High School follow the Ohio Department of Education Academic Learning Standards and graduation requirements?
Yes, iSTEM will incorporate the Ohio Learning Standards in all content areas. We will offer an engaging, challenging, content-rich curriculum that builds a solid foundation and grows from year to year. The curriculum is designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in both college and career. iSTEM students will complete all high school graduation requirements according to the Ohio Department of Education guidelines.
How will my child have access to early college courses?
What was once called Post-Secondary Education Options (PSEO) and dual enrollment is now called College Credit Plus. College Credit Plus is any opportunity in which a student is able to take a course in which he or she is simultaneously earning college and high school credit.
iSTEM is unique—as an early college high school, we have designed our curriculum to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to take college classes during high school. Our accelerated, academically rigorous curriculum makes it possible for a broader range of students to get a jump start on their college coursework. Although students are not required to take college courses to graduate from high school, iSTEM students’ academic schedules will allow for college credit plus options.
iSTEM students will be able to have College Credit Plus opportunities right on our campus.
Additionally, students will be able to take college course through distance learning platforms, including online and Interactive Video/ Distance Learning Instruction (IVDL).
Our college partners have a vested interest in helping iSTEM students succeed. They will be providing advisory support to the school as well as share their physical and academic resources with us. For example, iSTEM teachers will work closely with Lakeland Community College faculty to design courses to ensure that our high school curriculum adequately prepares students for college-level courses.
Does iSTEM ECHS teach foreign language?
As part of our dual enrollment opportunities during students’ third and fourth years, students will have the opportunity to take foreign language classes through a variety of methods. Many of our students will be meeting their foreign language course needs through college courses with one of partners. For students who are not ready for the early college experience, Middlebury Languages will be utilized (a credit flex option). To increase foreign language options, we will also be taking advantage of virtual opportunities.