Not Your Traditional High School
MC2 STEM is part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, one of the most economically challenged school districts in the country, where the average high school graduation rate was just 60 percent in 2011. The school was created through a public-private partnership among a number of organizations, with the intention of providing students with an integrated curriculum that is informed by real-world experiences.
The school serves about 300 students, all of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Students attend classes at campuses embedded in business and school sites around the city -- the Great Lakes Science Center, General Electric (GE) Lighting's Nela Park campus, the Health Careers Center (a Cleveland Metropolitan School District building), and various college campuses. At any given time, you may see freshmen and sophomores immersed in workshops with tutors from NASA or in rigorous projects(PDF) and mentorship programs with engineers from GE Lighting, or juniors and seniors stepping up to demanding internships(PDF) at a variety of local businesses.
While STEM is the school's emphasis, teachers cover all subjects required by Ohio's state standards through integrated, transdisciplinary project-based learning. The grading system (PDF) is based onmastery, meaning that every student in grades nine and ten must achieve at least 90 percent on benchmark assessments in order to receive credit. There are no enrollment criteria; students are admitted by lottery and they come from every corner of Cleveland.
STEM Connection: From Classroom to Workplace
Central to MC2 STEM High School’s vision are its seven core design principles. These design principles, crafted by the MC2 STEM Hub (2007), provide the backbone for every aspect of the school’s design and operation. They will be the basis for instructional change in existing schools and serve as a mechanism to advance teaching and learning for all students. MC2STEM HS will:
- Ensure opportunities for all students to be academically challenged while appropriately supported.
- Use multiple metrics to measure success and assess the demonstration of mastery.
- Provide an instructional program that reflects the need for all STEM education to be trans-disciplinary:
- Students will master core literacy skills of writing, reading, speaking, listening, viewing, and presenting.
- Students will master STEM literacy skills of design, inquiry, invention, and teamwork.
- Deliver an instructional program that is highly differentiated:
- Teachers will ensure a culture of discovery, collaborative learning, content integration, and workforce relevance using a problem-based learning approach.
- Hire and train a diverse faculty:
- The faculty will include industry partners, professionals from institutions of higher education and from the skilled-trades, and PreK-12 education instructors.
- The leadership will ensure regular professional development focused on cross-training experiences, thorough development of trans-disciplinary instructional units, and systemic strategies for knowledge- sharing amongst the STEM disciplines.
- Serve as a microcosm of the global STEM community:
- All STEM school partners, including students, families, faculty and staff, and community participants, will be engaged in an array of opportunities to work collaboratively in leadership, internship/fellowships, advisories, mentorships, and service learning roles.
- Recognize the importance of citizenship:
- The leadership and staff will create and support ongoing outreach opportunities promoting the strengths of the school community and ensuring that families are actively engaged in their child’s education in relevant and meaningful ways.