- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

Youngstown schools to have only new lab program in nation

Published: Wed, July 17, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

Discovery Learning Program offered to city school students


Next year, Youngstown schools will be one of, if not the only school district in the country with the type of technology and program offered through the Discovery Learning Program. Janahy Robinson, 17, a student in the Chaney Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program, works on her project, using equipment at the McDonough Museum of Art, similar to what will be at the Discovery program at Kirkmere school next year.

By Denise Dick



Next school year, the city schools will be one of, if not the only, school district in the country with the type of tech- nology and programs offered through the Discovery Learning Program.

The program for third- through eighth-graders at the former Kirkmere Elementary School will include 3-D printers, holographic screens and work stations that not only foster team and cooperative learning but also demonstrate the real-world applicability of what they learn.

“Kids have a natural inclination to want to be creative,” said Jack Scott, founder and president of Applied Systems & Technology Transfer (AST2).

The Youngstown company is providing the equipment and personnel to work with teachers and students in the lab. The district’s cost is about $88,000 with about half of it a one-time expenditure. The money is coming from federal dollars, not the school district’s general fund.

Scott said traditional education teaches children’s natural creativity out of them.

He gave an example of walking into a kindergarten classroom and asking the students how many of them consider themselves artists. Every hand would likely go up. Asking a class of fourth-graders the same question, however, would elicit far fewer raised hands, Scott said.

At the Kirkmere lab, dubbed Innovation Creation Space, students would come up with a design and use the 3-D printer to create it.

Students need to be taught that their ideas have value. It’s not all about a teacher’s lecture or what’s in a book, Scott said.

School has to a lot of competition for students’ attention and oftentimes, the competition is more fun.

Equipment in the lab allows learning to be more appealing to students.

The equipment could be used in science class to allow students to create 3-D models of a human heart. The complexity of the model would depend on the ages of the students involved.

“Youngstown is the only one to have this,” Scott said. “I don’t know of any other school in the country that has anything comparable to what’s going into Kirkmere.”

Doug Hiscox, city schools deputy superintendent for academic affairs, said the district is always looking for ways to build a stronger foundation for students going into other programs such as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses.

“We were also looking to create something that isn’t anywhere else,” he said. “This will be the first one in the country.”

Besides providing a foundation for engineering, the lab will be used across the curriculum for all grades, Hiscox said.

“Kids will be exposed to it on a pretty regular basis,” he said.

AST2 also developed the INVENTORcloud program used by high school students across Ohio, including a lab at Choffin Career and Technical Center.

Julie Michael Smith, executive vice president of AST2, sits on the Business Advisory Council for the school district and when she and Scott learned of Superintendent Connie Hathorn’s plans to create the Discovery Program at Kirkmere, they approached him about a similar program for younger students.

Scott said the program will build students team skills and teach them to collaborate with one another.

Joe Jeswald, a retired Girard City Schools educator, has been working with the district to develop the program to fit with the district curriculum.

One module teaches about the Mahoning River, detailing its history, its importance during the steel-industry boom and more recent efforts to clean it up. In another, elements of science and social studies will be taught as students learn about the early uses of engineering.

“There’s always been engineering, even before they called it engineering,” Jeswald said.


1differencemaker(1 comment)posted 3 years ago

I was born and raised inYoungstown. I went to and graduated from public schools in Youngstown. I am a college graduate. I went to one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country. I am very involved in my community. For you to make an ignorant comment like that is disgraceful. Just because kids go to schools in the city of Youngstown doesn't make them all thugs. I know several students that will be attending the new Discovery Program and I know for a fact they will be positive people making a difference in society unlike yourself.

Suggest removal:

2Letstryagain(218 comments)posted 3 years ago

It is so sad when they only way a person can lift themselves up is by taking another person down.

What a great try at a great program. I wish them all the success in the world. If you get around to designing 3-D printed brains, no make that hearts, there is someone here that coujld use one.

Suggest removal:

3walter_sobchak(2716 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Besides providing a foundation for engineering, the lab will be used across the curriculum for all grades, Hiscox said."

If you REALLY want to provide the students with a solid foundation for engineering, they need to be taught mathematics and the basic sciences. Operating this high-tech equipment at their age is no different than play video games. To make a difference, you have to be taught the basics first so that they can understand how these items work. Unforunately, YCS is lacking in the "basics" department.

Suggest removal:

4city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years ago

Walter, I think this program will help to motivate those students to learn the basics.

Suggest removal:

5poland21(108 comments)posted 3 years ago

I wish these types of opportunities were extended to the "rich" schools like Poland. Instead, we just keep getting funding cuts and can barely pay for elementary specialists - let alone 3D printers. How are our kids supposed to be exposed to this advanced technology?

Maybe a better idea would be to create magnet schools for Mahoning County. Then we can all take advantage of the opportunities available to Ycity kids like Early College, the Visual and Performing Arts and the STEM schools.

Suggest removal:

6city_resident(528 comments)posted 3 years ago

poland21, anyone can take advantage of these opportunities. Aren't they available to any student who attends Youngstown City Schools? If you choose to send your child to another district, then you are forfeiting those opportunities.

Suggest removal:

7JoeFromHubbard(1806 comments)posted 3 years ago

@ HellaBB:

You have favorably impressed me with this post.

Button pushing is a far cry from understanding the fundamentals of math and science which are required for true innovation and advancement.

Suggest removal:

8One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years ago

@Walter, Hella and Joe,

While you all make valid points, you leave out the most important one (IMHO).

Without a consuming interest in the subject matter, the basics don't matter because the kid wont stick with it for long enough to make it matter.

It's like the kid who wanted to get into music because he saw a Van Halen video and was forced to take piano lessons to learn the "basics". He trys for a while, gets frustrated and quits music all together. If he had been allowed to learn the 3 chords that make up the song "You Really Got Me" and was able to play it (easy, instant gratification) his interest would only grow. When he realized that he couldn't play the solo in the middle, he would start studying. The difference being that one way hammers in the basics and the other creates a want to learn the basics.

There are pros and cons to each approach but, given today's ADD mentality in kids as well as their parents, I think the kids would do better over-all with a bit of flash-bank instant gratification. Mastering the slide-rule will come later once their appetite is whetted for scientific learning.

Suggest removal:

9walter_sobchak(2716 comments)posted 3 years ago

I am an engineer and a product of the YCSD, so I don't need the lecture. Having kids in the 3rd to 8th grader using these toys is nothing but playing around. Once they get into high school, as the photo shows, then I would agree to using them as a carrot on the end of a string. But, in order to succeed in a college engineering curriculum, you MUST have a good foundation of math, chemistry, physics, biology, and physics or you will be weeded out of the program in short order. Therefore, the lower grades must emphasize the basics so that the proper classes can be taken in high school. Otherwise, the student will waste time taking remedial classes in college, wasting time and money. Engineering requires rigorous course work and there can be no shortcuts. And, in order to succeed in any curriculum, you need to read, write and properly use the English language.
I can only go by the state test results and rankings. I applaud Supt. Hathorn creating a STEM and arts school at Chaney. But, the problem is that we don't allow kids to be "tinkerers" where they can develop there vision by taking things apart and putting them back together. The fact that HellaBB agrees with my post, however, makes we want to get a complete work-up.

Suggest removal:

10DSquared(1788 comments)posted 3 years ago

Whose brother-in-law or other family member works for AST2? Follow the commission for this sale and you'll find the answers. Walter, Hella, and Joe are correct. Fundamentals come first before all these "frills".

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2016 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes