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STEM+M school awarded 10K grant

SOUTH POINT — The Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School chose to start their school year as scheduled on Aug. 17, but is using a blended learning environment.

This online learning environment consists of a regular daily schedule, in which students attend their courses in an online environment and, on Fridays (STEM Days), small groups of students, based on certain classes, are allowed to enter the building to complete hands-on projects and activities.

On STEM Days, all the mandatory precautions and more are being adhered to including, but not limited to, face masks, social distancing and one-way traffic.
Assistant Director Shelby Davidson can’t wait for students to be back in the building full-time.

“It has been great having students here on Fridays and seeing them work with the other students and our teachers ,but we can’t wait to be able to have all of the students back here in the building when it’s truly safe,” Davidson said.

To help with assisting students with unreliable Internet service, Tri-State STEM+M applied for the BroadbandOhio Connectivity grant. This grant worth a total of $50 million dollars was available to all Ohio public schools.

Awards ranged from $600-$250,000, depending on school size and student need. Tri-State STEM+M will be using their $10,000 to purchase numerous mobile hotspots and service plans and will allow students to use these devices through the end of 2020.

“We have students who may not have the most reliable internet service, with this grant money we can make sure they are staying connected with us and their classes. This money will be put to immediate use,” Davidson said.

Tri-State STEM+M uses an open floor concept in their building. This design is perfect for collaboration and workplace simulation but was not ideal when it came to a safe learning environment during a pandemic.

Josh Joseph, interim director stated, “Just like every school in our country, we have students, staff and family members who have underlying conditions or who are otherwise vulnerable.
That, along with knowing how successful our transition was to online learning in the spring, we chose to utilize this blended learning environment for at least the first nine weeks and will continue to evaluate the situation moving forward.”

One major concern when going virtual is the students emotional and social health. Tri-State STEM+M is working with Ironton-based non-profit, Impact Prevention, who is helping to provide Life Skills Training and Youth-Led Prevention to their students. Joseph also says they are working on some creative ways to keep students engaged and supported throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School is an Ohio public High School for grades 9-12 with STEM designation, located in South Point.

For more information go to www.tristatestem.com.

Impact Prevention is a non-profit organization, who specializes in youth prevention services. For more information go to www.impactprevention.org.