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Columbus City Schools And Ohio State Partner For New STEAMM Education Initiative

 Columbus City Schools superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon stands in front of East High School on Sept. 23, 2021.
Michael Lee
Columbus City Schools superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon stands in front of East High School on Sept. 23, 2021.

City officials and local education leaders announced on Thursday a new initiative that would help Columbus City School students prepare for careers in the sciences and the arts.

The initiative — dubbed the "STEAMM Rising Initiative" — would provide three different programs through Ohio State University that would train teachers and students in science, technology, engineering, art, math and medicine.

Grace Wang, executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge at Ohio State, said the initiative is divided into three parts.

The first part is a summer training institute for Columbus teachers hosted by Ohio State's College of Education and Human Ecology, which will provide them STEAMM area training.

The second part, called "STEAMM Pathways," will streamline STEAMM curriculum between CCS, Ohio State and Columbus State.

The third part would provide Ohio State's Mobile Design Lab for Columbus students.

"We see this as an opportunity for all of us working together as one community to support and empower our youth in our own city," Wang said.

The initiative will be in concert with Ohio State's Innovation District announced in February. The district, intended to increase jobs in STEAMM fields, received funding from Ohio's economic development group JobsOhio in order for students to gain hands-on experiences in various industries.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the initiative will ensure that students from Columbus City Schools will be included in the 22,500 students Ohio State promised to graduate in STEAMM areas in the next 15 years.

"We will start early, as young as Pre-K and kindergarten, to educate and inspire students to become leaders and scholars for careers and disciplines of the future," Ginther said. "And, we'll train hundreds of teachers to provide first-rate instruction."

And that's what Columbus City Schools superintendent and CEO Talisa Dixon said will help boost. She said the initiative will not only let teachers bring a STEAMM mindset to their classrooms, but also provide a deeper STEAMM curriculum for students.

"The work we've done, and will do, will create a brighter future for the city of Columbus and Columbus City Schools — a bright future led by our students," Dixon said.

Ohio State president Kristina Johnson said STEAMM Rising will encourage young people to become "innovators," with the district providing career development opportunities in partner with university faculty, students, city leaders and fortune 500 companies.

"We can contribute so much to giving Columbus K-12 students a sense of what it means to work in creative or discovery-oriented fields," Johnson said. "That is particularly true as we build out the Innovation Districts and Arts Districts which will employ 10s and thousands of potential role models."

As for Columbus State Community College's role in the initiative, president David Harrison said they will be working with Ohio State and CCS to create more ways to create more STEAMM-minded teachers and even to have CCS students come through the college in order to do so.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.