Board implements STEM program

LISBON – The Lisbon school district has hit the ground running in regard to immediate implementation of a state-funded program to provide its middle school students additional science and technology instruction.

Superintendent Joseph Siefke and middle/senior high school Principal Keith Endfield reported at this week’s school board meeting the additional STEM education would be in place for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students when classes begin Monday.

“I don’t know of any other school (in the county) that offers STEM” to middle school students until now, Endfield said.

STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education that seeks to emphasize theses fields and the important role mastering these skills play in seeking jobs now and in the future. The purpose is to give these students a taste of the type of careers out there that rely heavily on STEM skills.

The Lisbon school district was among eight in Columbiana County that received $98,790 in STEM funding through Ohio Straight A program for middle schools. Until now STEM programs were geared more to high schools.

Endfield said three middle school teachers have already undergone additional training for STEM, with the grant used to purchase curriculum and equipment. As part of its STEM program, Lisbon will have access to 3-D printers and computer-operated, numerically-controlled milling machines, which will be located in Youngstown. The equipment was obtained through the county Educational Service Center, which was the lead agency in obtaining the state grant for the county.

“We’ve been able to get off to a great start with that,” he said.

Siefke said the plan is to incorporate a nine-week STEM class into the normal rotation of middle school classes. STEM classes at the high school are electives and last an entire semester.

In other school news, McKinley Elementary School Principal Dan Kemats reported 20 of his students took advantage of an August summer school session to brush up on their skills before the start of classes. The classes were for three hours a day over two weeks.

“It’s a good way to get kids some extra help,” he said.