Chaney STEM School wins state excellence award


By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

After only one year of operation, the Chaney Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics School earned an award for excellence from the Ohio Academy of Science.

Chaney was one of 62 Ohio schools to earn the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education for accomplishments last school year. That was Chaney’s first year as a specialty school for STEM and visual and performing arts for sixth- through 12th-graders.

“This establishes us as a STEM school,” said Principal Diane Rollins.

She credited Pam Lubich, STEM coordinator, and the school staff.

“I have exceptional teachers here,” she said.

Their primary concern is students, the principal said.

Lubich takes it upon herself to seek opportunities for the school and the students, Rollins said.

“It’s a prestigious award,” Lubich said. “It shows all we’ve done through the school-year last year.”

To receive the award, schools had to conduct a science fair with at least 20 students, qualify at least one of those students for a Science Academy science day, have students participate in at least one more youth science activity outside of the classroom, such as field trips, and convince outside professionals from STEM business and education that the school’s program met the definition of STEM education.

“These awardee schools are engaged in project-based curricula, the central element of any STEM education program,” Lynn E. Elfner, the Academy’s CEO, said in a news release. “Receiving a Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence sends a clear signal that these schools and teachers value student-originated, inquiry-based science and technology education as envisioned for the next-generation science-education standards being developed nationally.”

Chaney scored a nine out of 10 on its application.

Engineering students at all grade levels were engaged in their work Friday morning.

Juniors Brendan Wehby, Dylan Sanchez and Ruzja Streeter, all 16, used Autodesk Inventor to design bird houses in teacher Carrie Sinkele’s class.

First, the students made their birdhouses out of cardboard before moving on to the wooden versions.

“We picked the bird we wanted from birds in Ohio,” Dylan said.

The birdhouse style varies in size and the size of the opening.

In Cory Rudibaugh’s sophomore engineering class, Regina Comer and Jeraile Moreland, both 15, and Takeyla Clayton, 16, designed a machine composed of pulleys, levers and knobs to lift a weight.

Sixth-graders in Sharon Ragan’s class researched a particular invention, documenting how it’s changed over time.

Christopher Fitzgerald, 12, chose eyeglasses since he wears a pair himself.

They’ve been around a long time, he learned.

“Now they can be wearable,” he explained.

People who used to need vision correction used to have to carry the early glasses and hold them up to their eyes, Christopher said.

Rollins, the principal, said the school’s award recognition shows that it has the right leadership in place, from Superintendent Connie Hathorn, to the school administration, Lubich and teachers.

“It’s about collectiveness, collaboration, shared leadership and a family environment,” she said.

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