STEM+ME2 Academy plans progress

By Denise Dick


A location hasn’t been identified, but plans are moving forward for Valley STEM+ME2 Academy.

“I’m so excited for these kids,” said Vince Colaluca, Austintown superintendent and president of the academy board. “It’s a great opportunity for our community, and it’s not going to be a traditional high school.”

The endeavor, initiated by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center, involves partner districts Austintown, Canfield, Jackson-Milton, Poland and Struthers, although the school will be open to students from all over Ohio.

STEM+ME2 means science, technology, engineering and mathematics plus manufacturing, energy and entrepreneurship.

“So much of our area is tied to manufacturing, and we have a relationship with the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition,” Colaluca said,

The energy stems from the rise in the fracking industry in the area in recent years, said Jason Braddock, the school’s chief administrative officer.

The school will accept up to 100 freshmen for the 2015-16 school year with additional freshmen classes of the same size accepted in subsequent years. Enrollment will be limited to about 400.

Braddock said possible locations include an elementary school in one of the partner districts and space at Mahoning County Educational Service Center, but nothing has been decided.

Once that happens, likely by late this month, he’ll begin visiting schools to inform prospective students and parents about the program.

The board, which also includes members from the ESC, Youngstown State University, the Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, with additional members to be appointed, will begin posting teacher positions soon.

Because it’s not a traditional high school, people from STEM, energy, manufacturing, entrepreneurship, as well as teachers may apply.

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