Dayton Regional STEM School wins prestigious presidential grant for arts curriculum

Students at the Dayton Regional STEM School working on an art project.

Students at the Dayton Regional STEM School working on an art project.

The Dayton Regional STEM School — co-founded by lead partner Wright State University — was among eight schools nationwide to win a prestigious $10,000 grant from a presidential committee for integrating arts into the educational curriculum.

The school’s model STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) program was recognized by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Americans for the Arts and the Ovation Foundation, an independent television and digital media company dedicated to supporting arts and culture.

The grant awards were presented Nov. 3 during a ceremony and reception at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The recipients were also invited to the White House by the Office of Science and Technology to discuss their programs.

“It is through programs like these that we can foster the skills of innovation, creativity and problem-solving that our students need to compete in the world today,” said Rachel Goslins, executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Also honored were schools from Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, Beaverton and Hillsboro, Oregon; Janesville, Wisconsin; and Akron, Ohio.

“We can learn a lot from these eight schools — they stand as role models for the education system in America today honoring a well-rounded education for every student by incorporating the arts and the STEM subjects,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “I am impressed by their students’ academic achievement, school engagement and innovative thinking.”

Art teacher Jenny Montgomery accepted the award for the Dayton Regional STEM School. She was accompanied by Keshawn Mellon, a junior at the STEM school.

“As a WSU College of Education Professional Development School, we appreciate the opportunity to experiment with and share best practices, including arts-integrated curriculum,” Montgomery said. “Wright State’s partnership has benefited us on numerous occasions and in a variety of ways, including public exhibition of student work, professional advisement and critique in the development of student work.”

Those collaborating with the STEM school include Tess Cortes, the gallery coordinator of the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries at Wright State. Cortes has exhibited work by the STEM students and lent her expertise to “Fashion Fushion STEMmersion,” in which students created fashion that incorporated light and sound.

Stephanie Bange, director of Wright State’s Educational Resource Center, created exhibits of student work to display with the “Conflict and Genocide Poster Project.” And David Karslberger from Wright Copy helped students learn about layout and design.

Recipients of the grant awards gathered outside the White House.

Recipients of the grant awards gathered outside the White House.

Montgomery thanked the Ovation Foundation, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Americans for the Arts for supporting arts education.

“The award we are getting is supporting further integration of arts into our core classes,” she said.

Wright State University is a founding partner of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school and the lead higher-education partner. The Kettering school opened in 2009 and in June 2013 graduated its first class.

It is one of 12 public STEM schools across Ohio. The schools are designed to offer students a relevant, real-world education that prepares them for college and the working world. The students participate in inquiry and project-based instruction that marries traditional STEM content with social studies, language arts, fine arts and wellness and fitness.

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