NEW HOPE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY RECEIVES STEM-DESIGNATION EQUIVALENCY
New Hope Christian Academy has been granted formal STEM designation equivalency for grades 6-12 in the state of Ohio by the Ohio STEM Subcommittee.
On May 21, 2015, the Ohio STEM Subcommittee reviewed a total of 9 applications for STEM designation or equivalency. 5 of those schools were approved, including NHCA.
During its review before the Ohio STEM Subcommittee, New Hope was praised as a “trailblazer” for STEM education in nonpublic schools. New Hope Christian Academy is the first nonpublic school in the state of Ohio to receive this honor. In previous years, only public schools could be considered for the designation. With the help of Rep. Gary Scherer, previous New Hope administrator Mr. Michael Fluhart worked to pass House Bill 362, which passed in May 2014 and allows the STEM-designation equivalency for nonpublic and community schools. Dr. Frank Martin, current Administrator/Head of School purports “through Mike’s leadership coupled with the assistance of Rep. Gary Scherer, New Hope is established as a STEM school equivalent--now is the time to build on that firm foundation.”
WHAT IS STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but it is more than an acronym. While originally designed to encourage students to pursue careers in these areas, STEM education has evolved into a unique approach to teaching and learning that fosters creativity and innovative thinking in all students.
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 education produces exactly the kind of thinkers, innovators and problem solvers our world demands.
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 in which different subject areas are treated as separate “silos,” STEM education emphasizes the technological design process and integrates subjects in ways that emphasize connections across 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.
WHAT DOES STEM LOOK LIKE AT NEW HOPE CHRISTIAN ACADEMY?
New Hope Christian Academy utilizes STEM principles in all grades levels, beginning in kindergarten. Plans are also in place to expand the highly successful robotics program into the 5-year old preschool classes for the 2015-16 school year.
The transition of designation from nonpublic school to STEM-equivalent school places the Academy on par with similar STEM schools across Ohio, while allowing it to capitalize on the uniqueness of its goal to train principled leaders and continue to emphasize the importance of the arts. New Hope Christian Academy has therefore adopted an L-STEAM (Leadership-Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) focus for all grade levels. According to Head of School, Dr. Frank L. Martin III, “New Hope is poised to strategically provide Circleville and Pickaway County, as well as the state and nation, principled leaders who are true statesmen - men and women, boys and girls who are young people of integrity and wisdom who have the courage and commitment to be disciples of Christ making a difference throughout the world.”
STEM designation brings the academy into an elite group of more than 20 STEM schools and regional training centers across Ohio where the sharing of effective practices in problem-based integrated learning methods, the core of STEM education, is pervasive.
Ohio is a leader in STEM education cooperation through the statewide Ohio STEM Learning Network and the national STEMx network.
"As a core member of STEMx, OSLN is a major part in a grassroots, on-the-ground movement of state STEM organizations with foundations in real-world instruction both in and out of classrooms, and partnerships among education, business, government and community-based stakeholders," said Dustin Pyles, director of operations, OSLN. "The teaching and learning practices that are accessible through STEMx provide limitless ideas and inspiration for students, parents, educators, policymakers and business and community leaders in Ohio."
The Ohio STEM Learning Network not only assists in starting up STEM schools, but also leverages existing STEM schools and programs to spread effective practices and tools across the state and the nation. OSLN is also a member of STEMx, a nationwide network that provides a platform to share and spread quality STEM teaching and learning practices to grow tomorrow's innovators. STEMx is managed by BattelleEd, a venture of Battelle that builds and manages STEM Innovation Networks.
New Hope Christian Academy's unique position as the only nonpublic school in the state of Ohio to earn its STEM-designation equivalency is a tribute to the hard work of the students, teachers, administration, and school board. New Hope Christian Academy plans to become a demonstration site for other nonpublic schools interested in STEM education.
The Academy, which welcomed its first group of ninth grade students in August 2013 (and continues to add one grade level per year), has grown to include formal and informal partnerships with various local businesses, non-profit organizations, and higher education institutions. Dr. Martin states, “these local partnerships will be the cornerstone of our Capstone Course we are developing for our future seniors - the Class of 2017.”