• 59°

STEM+M school to open in 2017

New high school will offer tech, medical classes

SOUTH POINT — A new school, focused on science, technology, engineering and math is set to open to students in the next school year.

The Tri-State STEM+M Academy will see its first classes begin in August of 2017, Jayshree Shah, the school’s founding director, who has background as an educator and administrator in Lawrence County schools, said.

“What makes us unique is the “‘+M,’” she said, explaining that the school’s acronym differs from existing STEM programs in the county in that it will offer a medical curriculum.

Health care is the largest employer and the area expected to see the most growth in the region, Shah said.

“In the Tri-State, we have the fewest number of private doctors, but the most senior health issues,” she said. “This school was initiated to address that need and to produce graduates to enter various medical fields.”

Another difference with existing STEM programs would be that the academy will educate students beginning in the ninth grade, rather than eleventh grade, she said.

The academy will be a public school, open to incoming ninth grade students from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Ohio students can attend at no cost, while out-of-state students would have a tuition fee, Shah said.

For its first year of classes, the school will be located at The Point, on Commerce Avenue, in the Higher Education Regional Partner and Training Center.

“Our final location will be at the Point Occupational Health, Wellness and Training center,” she said of the site, which is planned for construction.

She said the academy is projected to have a faculty of four to five members in it first year and can enroll up to 120 students.

Classes would be full-time, five days a week, and the school year can extend into June for some students.

“Our school calendar has, built in, programs for enrichment, such as internships, job shadowing and service projects,” Shah said.

Shah said the school will also work with the Project Lead the Way and College Credit Plus programs and would be a good preparation for students for their higher education.

“The big benefit is that they’re going to be ready to go to college or a two-year program,” she said. “Hopefully, they will have achieved 60 hours by graduation. The students will be more self-directed and critical thinkers and learn lessons for the career path they choose to take.”

The school’s first informational meeting for parents is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20, at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, located at 216 Collins Avenue in South Point.

Shah said additional meeting are set for the same time and place on Oct. 20, Nov. 15, Dec. 18 in 2016 and Jan. 12, Feb. 7, March 7 and March 28 in 2017. The deadline to apply to school will be in April 2017.