David Burns, Director of Battelle STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Innovation Networks, was recently quoted saying, “This is a day for celebration.” Mr. Burns was referring to the fact that the Willoughby-Eastlake School of Innovation was designated as a member of the Ohio STEM Learning Network.
The Ohio STEM Learning Network began in 2008 with five schools and currently consists of 47 schools across the state. In its origins, Battelle and the Ohio Business Roundtable were the two entities supporting STEM learning in Ohio until they were joined by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Ohio STEM Learning Network describes the benefit to students not currently attending STEM schools, “Through their open platform design, STEM schools are created to have a large footprint through the broad sharing of curriculum and teacher professional development. This sharing concept is magnified when schools and partners connect to OSLN and begin sharing statewide.”
The School of Innovation (SOI) began with grades 3-5 during the 2015-16 school year. In each subsequent year, a new third grade has been added and eventually the school will educate students in grades 3 to 12. SOI was created to serve as a platform school for the other educators and students in the district. During the first two years, the staff at the School of Innovation has observed that using innovative delivery models and problem-based learning students are able to delve deeper into topics of interest to them, improve reasoning skills, critical thinking abilities, creativity and innovation while ensuring that they learn the curriculum.