An academic focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics may sound like a nightmare for some, but this appears to be the way of the future for students in the Reynoldsburg City Schools District.
In the coming years, the Reynoldsburg Board of Education wants the district to become the first school district in Ohio to offer a K-12 STEM program.
According to Superintendent Stephen Dackin, STEM would "provide students with the opportunity and motivation to deeply explore these vital disciplines as an integral part of their curriculum."
The board requested several Reynoldsburg residents who attend Metro High School to share their experiences with the program at the Oct. 21 school board meeting. Because the program is hands on, it often takes the students out of the classroom and puts them into real life situations that build work skills, and, as a bonus, college credits.
"I have two classes in the morning at Metro, and then I take a computer graphics class at Ohio State two days a week," said Metro High School junior David Winterstein. "I also do an internship with the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State."
He said they are in the process of building an eco-friendly Saturn Vue SUV hybrid that could reach up to 40 MPG.
"I feel extremely privileged to have this opportunity," said Winterstein.
The students, along with the board, believe a focus on the subjects in the STEM program would help students be able to work anywhere in the world and have the right skills ready to work anywhere.
Ohio State School Board of Education member Michael Cochran was at the meeting to present a Certificate of Commendation to the district for their achievement of an ‘Excellent’ rating for the 2007-08 school years.
The rating was awarded by the Ohio Department of Education in August.
"This is truly an accomplishment to be proud of," said Cochran.
Every October, the district gets the official enrollment count for the previous school year and compares it to the unofficial figures for the current school year, then gives the assessment on the data.
"It appears our enrollment is down from last year at the kindergarten and high school levels," said Dackin.
He said district officials are in the process of "cleaning up the data at the high school level because it wasn’t as accurate as it should have been" and the kindergarten enrollment is down due to all-day, every-day kindergarten classes.
"We only offer kindergarten half-day, but the data shows that they are coming back for first grade," he explained.
Dackin added the enrollment figures for the rest of the grades are stable.
Extra school days
Due to damaging winds from Hurricane Ike, the district has already expended three of their five calamity days (the high school has one calamity day left) with winter still being months away.
In case they go over those five days it is mandated by the state that they have make up dates planned.
Dackin said if the district exceeds their allotment before the beginning of the year, their scheduled make up days would be on Jan. 16 and Feb. 16. In the event they use their remaining two days after February their make up dates would be on April 18, June 5.
"We have June 8 and June 9 scheduled for potential days too, but I don’t think we’ll have to go that deeply into the future," he said.