Springfield News Sun: Board OKs STEM school partnership

Former South High School announced as future site.

By Mark McGregor, Staff Writer


Springfield City Board of Education members agreed Thursday to partner with two local higher educations institutions and a regional development group to create the much anticipated Global Impact STEM Academy, to be housed at the shuttered South High School.

The school board’s 4-0 decision came just days before the expected ceremonial signing of the nonprofit science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy’s articles of incorporation, scheduled for Monday night at South High School. Board Member Jamie Callan was absent.

“We want to invite all the public, this whole community, to come and see the ceremonial signing of the documents that’s going to create the new Global Impact STEM Academy that will be housed in that building,” Superintendent David Estrop said.

“Obviously we’re pleased that we’ve been able to find a way to save a marvelous, old historic building, as well as contribute to the economic development of our community, both the downtown area and the area immediately adjacent to South,” he said. “And more importantly, be able to do so in a manner that creates more opportunities for our children and better jobs for our children.”

Springfield Promise Neighborhood Project Director Bob Welker applauded the board for its decision.

“We just need a round of applause for this amazing moment with this resolution that you just passed that’s going to create this STEM school. This is a huge deal for our community,” he said. “I work in that area adjacent to (South) and it’s given us a lot of hope. It’s going to be a healing moment in our community.”

The academy has been under discussion since State Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, pitched the idea in January.

Representatives from partners Springfield City Schools, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition — serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio — are expected to be on hand to sign the articles of incorporation at Monday’s event.

The education board also appointed Leventhal and board member Wanda Truss or their designees to the STEM academy’s inaugural board of directors.

The academy’s board of directors would consist of 13 members, including the president or designee each from Clark State Community College and Wright State University, and the superintendent or designee from Springfield City School District, according to the articles of incorporation.

Each institution would also have two sitting board members and an employer/business executive selected by their respective organizations. The Dayton Development Coalition — serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio — will have one board member.

South High School had been pushed by officials as a possible location for the academy, but had not been previously confirmed as the official site, according to Springfield News-Sun records. The academy would occupy about 70,000 square feet of South and renovate the space using about $4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and about $4.5 million in raised funds.

Officials hope to open the academy in the fall of 2013 with an inaugural group of about 200 students in ninth and 11th grades. They said it would be the first of its kind in Ohio and is expected to receive guidance and support from The Ohio State University, The Ohio Farm Bureau, Battelle Memorial Institute and agriscience businesses.

“It’s a huge leap of faith for a lot of people to go forward with a program like this and it shows the confidence that everyone has in the potential that we have here in Springfield,” school board Vice President Donna Picklesimer said. “With the full partnership it will allow this to go forward in a very vigorous way but still allow us back here to stay focused on what’s important.” Read More...


What: Formal signing for the Global Impact STEM Academy

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: South High School, Tiffany Gynmasium, 700 S. Limestone St.

Who: State Sen. Chris Widener, representatives from Springfield City Schools, Clark State Community College, Wright State University, Dayton Development Coalition serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio and Springfield High School students demonstrating soybean-based projects.

Springfield News-Sun: Survey supports ag bioscience school for Springfield

By Megan Gildow Anthony, Staff Writer

A majority of parents and students surveyed said they would consider a science, technology, engineering and math-focused high school if available in the Clark County area.

The survey, part of market research funded by the Springfield City School District for $14,500, tested the marketability of an agricultural STEM school called the Global Impact STEM Academy, proposed by Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

Nearly 85 percent of the more than 500 Clark County parents surveyed — a sample size larger than many political surveys — said they thought the STEM school was a good idea. Seventy-three percent said they would allow a child who wanted to attend the school to enroll.

“We think we have a pretty favorable, pretty marketable idea, things that parents like,” said Widener.

In a similar survey of students, 63 percent responded that they thought the plan for the school was a good idea. About 28 percent said they would attend the school and 50 percent said they might attend.

Students and parents in the survey responded affirmatively to other parts of the plan as well, including the school’s partnership with the Ohio State University.

Widener hopes the Global Impact STEM Academy, which would focus on agricultural biosciences, would be the first of a network of similar schools around the state.

During a community meeting last week hosted by the city schools, several residents and community leaders spoke in support of the school, especially a plan to re-use South High School, which closed as a school in 2008, as the school’s location. The STEM school would occupy about 70,000 square feet in South High and renovate the space using about $4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and $4.5 million in fundraising.

Officials hope to open the school in the fall of 2013 with an inaugural group of about 200 students in 9th and 11th grades.

“This school’s going to grab a bunch of those kids that can’t do things in a regular classroom, but they get over there and they can really bloom. We’ve spent so long trying to teach everybody the same way … I really believe that this is another piece of that puzzle that will make things work for kids,” said Basil Fett, a retired Huber Heights teacher who lives in Springfield.

Jordan Copeland, who coaches middle school basketball for the city schools, said he had seen several companies mentioned by Widener as potential industry employers, at a recent job fair.

“Those companies were there recruiting engineers, chemical engineers, bioscience engineers,” he said. “If they’re coming out of Springfield, I just think that’d be awesome.”

Copeland said he liked that the school would include project-based learning.

“I think actually seeing those things, getting hands-on, getting experience is something that a lot of kids in our community don’t necessarily get the opportunities to do,” he said. “A school like this just would provide some of these kids a chance no one else in the state’s getting.”

A retired agriculture teacher from New Carlisle, Paul Snyder stressed the importance of internships and experience if the school were to be located in the city.

“If you’re gonna have it here.. because it’s in the inner city and unrelated to rural areas I think you want to really emphasize and have the internships,” he said.

If the plan comes to fruition, the Global Impact STEM Academy would be the first regional STEM school in the state to tie itself to an industry. Approximately one in seven Ohio jobs are in the agricultural field, according to Widener.
The Global Impact STEM Academy by the numbers
70,000 square feet of space needed for the STEM school
1 in 7 Ohio jobs in the agriculture field
2013-14 school year goal for opening the Global Impact STEM Academy
200 students wanted for the first year
$9 million in renovations at South High location
$4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission for renovations
$4.5 million from fundraising for renovations

Read Article at Springfield News-Sun

ABC 22 News Now Reports:

Vacant School to Reopen as Ag STEM School (Video)

SPRINGFIELD -- The former Springfield South High School building has been vacant for years and is now making history. The school will be called Global Impact Stem School because they believed that the students can make a global impact.

Leo Banks went to Springfield South High School 30 years ago and now works across the street.

"They should've never closed the school anyway," he said. "Too many problems with so many kids at The other high school."

Students haven't walked through the halls of Springfield South High school for four years but all that is about to change once the Global Impact Agriculture Stem School opens up next fall.

Nearly 100 parents students teachers and Springfield City Board members gathered tonight to discuss the new school and what would mean for the students. Most everyone was in support.

"They can have a better future, more job opportunities and mainly to be able to get excited about the future of our world," said Cynthia Harshaw of Springfield.

Students grades 9 & 11 will be attending this school next year and in the following years they will expand to include 600 students.

All of those students will be able to receive two years of college credit for attending this school.

"We're going to bring the employers to the table and say what do you need for employees so that people can get jobs," said senator Chris Widener. "We can provide that in high school."

The stem school will cost about $9 million but taxpayers won't have to pay a dime. The State of Ohio will help out and they are also expecting donations from local foundations & Ag science corporations.

Someone like Banks couldn't be more excited.

"Great for community could be good for tire city good for the economy," said Banks.

Wright State, Clark state and Springfield city schools will also be working as sponsors for this school. There's only going to be one other similar school in the country. It's in North Carolina.

Dayton Business Journal: Biotech Jobs Booming in Ohio

Biotech jobs booming in Ohio

Date: Thursday, September 20, 2012, 2:51pm EDT
Laura Englehart, Staff Reporter- Dayton Business Journal

Ohio has added 8,500 bioscience-related jobs in a little more than a decade, according to a new report.

There were 1,491 jobs created or retained in the Dayton region in just the past four years alone, leading to a huge surge in local biotech employment at hundreds of companies in the region. Among the largest new projects in the region is the new Abbott Laboratories nutrition plant in Tipp City that is being built at a total cost of $270 million and will employ 240 people when operational.

Employment in the industry climbed 16.5 percent from 2000 to 2011, while the number of overall in Ohio declined, said the report released Wednesday by Columbus-based BioOhio, a nonprofit industry proponent.
Marked growth was cramped slightly from 2010 to 2011 when direct employment in the sector dropped slightly by 230 jobs.

The industry includes drug developers, medical devices makers and research laboratories, along with agricultural biotechnology.

Within the western region — which includes Montgomery County; it’s contiguous counties to the north, west and east; and Fayette, Champaign, Shelby, Auglaize and Mercer counties — there are about 18,870 bioscience jobs.

The region added 18 new biosciences companies from 2007 to 2011, the least amount of six Ohio regions, except the southeast, which tied that number. The northeast region, anchored by Cleveland and Akron, added 181.

There are more than 200 total biosciences locations in the western region. Medical device manufacturers make up the majority of those employers.

Local medical device makers include West Chester-based AtriCure Inc., Dayton-based DRT Medical LLC, Centerville-based DG Medical, Dayton-based GemCity Engineering and Manufacturing, Vandalia-based Innovative Medical Device Solutions, Dayton-based Mauch Inc. and Miamisburg-based X-spine Systems Inc.

Pharmaceutical companies also have a healthy presence in the region. They include Alkermes Inc. in Wilmington, Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Butler County; Aptalis Pharma, formerly Eurand, in Vandalia; and Encore Pharmaceuticals Inc. in West Chester.


Springfield News-Sun: OSU sees farming uses for drones

Clark County’s ties to drone work, farming jobs could make good fit for ag UAVs. 

The same technology used to hunt militants in the Mideast could one day be put to use on farms here in the Midwest.

A researcher from Ohio State University envisions the day — less than a decade from now — when a farmer waters the crops then launches an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor precisely where the water went.

“I definitely think this is a staple of future farming operations,” predicted Matt McCrink, a 27-year-old Ph.D. student in aerospace engineering.

The university this week put its inaugural drone prototype on public display for the first time at the Farm Science Review, an annual showcase of ag technology that runs through Thursday at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in Madison County.

The Dayton-Springfield region already is positioning itself to be a nationally recognized hub of UAV research and development, and a drone for agricultural use hits home even further — one of every seven jobs in Ohio is tied to farming.  Read More...