SIDNEY — The Ohio Academy of Science selected 58 Ohio schools and 509 teachers to receive The Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards for Excellence in STEM education and Student Research for their accomplishments during the 2016‐17 school year. Each school received a special Governor’s Award certificate, and each teacher received a complementary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science. The Technology Division of the Ohio Development Services Agency funded the program.
Lehman Catholic science teachers who received the award are Tracy Hall, Leah Bertke and Sister Ginny Scherer. The Lehman Catholic Science Department has received the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award every year since 1990.
The criteria for the Thomas Edison Award for Excellence are to conduct a local science fair with twelve or more students, to qualify two or more of these students for one of the Academy’s 17 district science days, to have students participate in at least one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom, and to convince external STEM professional how and to what extent the school’s program met the Academy’s definition of STEM education
The Ohio Academy of Science defines STEM education as both the mastery and integration of science technology, engineering, and mathematics for all PK‐12 students. It incorporates scientific inquiry and technological design through student‐focused, project-based curricula to develop skills of communication, teamwork/collaboration, creativity/innovation, critical thinking and problem solving.
First established in 1985, the Governor’s Thomas Edison Awards recognizes Ohio schools and teachers who stimulate scientific student research and technological design and extend opportunities beyond traditional classroom activities. Students must participate in one or more youth science opportunities beyond the classroom, including State Science Day, The Ohio Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Buckeye Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, and other structured STEM‐related youth activities.
“These schools and teachers push the boundaries of the traditional classroom by advising and mentoring student originated research and other hands‐on experiences,” said Michael E. Woytek, the Academy’s CEO.
The Ohio Academy of Science initiated this educational partnership program in cooperation with The Office of The Governor and The Technology Division of The Ohio Development Services Agency to recognize schools and teachers for excellence in STEM education and scientific student research.
Forty professionals ─ broadly representing STEM employers from business, industry, government, and academia ─ evaluated the applications in a review process.
“Every year Lehman Catholic goes above and beyond the scope of the required criteria for the award,” said Sister Ginny Scherer, Chair of the Lehman Science Department. “Besides our annual science fair, we have a variety of extracurricular science experiences for our students, including competitive teams for Science Olympiad, TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science), the Ohio Energy Project and Envirothon.”
“Not only do we have the extracurricular science experiences, but our curriculum includes AP and College Credit science classes. Our science program is very broad and essentially, we do it all,” said Scherer. “None of this happens without a lot of caring teachers and volunteers. Many people from the community and Lehman Alumni are also involved in Lehman science activities, serving as coaches for the Science Olympiad team and helping to judge projects at the school science fair.”
Also happening at Lehman Catholic is the first phase of construction on the state-of-the-art Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Medicine and Manufacturing (STEM+MM) Wing. In keeping with new trends in career readiness education, existing classrooms are being transformed into technology advanced and innovative areas for hands-on and project-based learning. Students will study practical applications and career opportunities in these fields.
Since many of the world’s leading manufacturing industries are located in the Sidney area, Lehman has formulated plans to partner with local companies to help Lehman Catholic continue to be a leader in educating quality candidates for the future workforce of West Central Ohio.