GETAWAY, Ohio — Collins Career Center has become the first vocational school in Ohio to offer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to Steve Dodgion, superintendent of the vocational school at Getaway.
“It’s a brand new designation,” Dodgion said. “This is special. I am so proud of our faculty and administration. We’ve been working on this for seven or eight years.
“It will help our students get jobs,” Dodgion said of the vocational school serving Lawrence County high school students. “We’re better preparing our students for the modern work force.”
“The Ohio Department of Education would like to formally recognize the STEM Academy of Lawrence County at Collins Career Technical Center as an Ohio STEM Center,” Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction, wrote in a letter to Dodgion.
The STEM Academy of Lawrence County demonstrates exceptional STEM instructional practices in a joint vocational school setting, DeMaria wrote.
The state department will continue to work with the Ohio STEM Learning Network, joint vocational school districts and other career technical education stakeholders to ensure all students have access to STEM opportunities, he said in the letter.
Collins received the STEM designation from the state several years ago, Dodgion said. The vocational school has extended problem-based learning to every program it offers, he said.
“We’re committed to STEM education,” Dodgion said. Students use skills like teamwork, critical thinking and research in classes, he said.
The programs and methods it uses currently are for high school classes, but plans are in the works to extend it to adult education programs, Dodgion said.