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Bio-Med Science Academy

“I taught biology for 17 years, and then probably by year ten I started thinking about how we could do it differently.” I sit across from Stephanie Lammlein, Chief Administrative Officer at Bio-Med Science Academy in Rootstown, Ohio. Four years in, the school is a handful of days away from celebrating its first graduation. Lammlein tells how she first saw STEM as a way to change her career. “I started using my personal days and summer vacation to do research and learn about what it was.” STEM seemed to be a way to do school differently. “So then I created this school in a book – kind of sketched it out a little bit. I pitched the concept to NEOMED’s President Dr. Jay Gershen, and here we are.” The school is on the third floor of the NEOMED building on the campus of the Northeast Ohio Medical University. The walls are lined with student projects ranging from cute to incredibly complicated. “We have 15 total classroom spaces that are flexible, fluid. Kids work in the halls, kids work in the Commons, the quiet study.” The Commons in particular stands out as she walks me through the school. Students work in small groups on laptops, or claim a desk and chair to concentrate. Though buzzing with activity, it’s quieter than one might expect. We have no trouble walking along the outskirts, passing a graduation countdown poster displaying two numbers. The first factors in weekends, the other only school days.

“Not all kids learn the same ways. That’s been proven time and time again, and schools need to start changing.” In her search for a new place to teach, she ended up providing the students of N.E. Ohio a groundbreaking educational opportunity. A medical campus offers sizeable opportunities in the field. Just this past year, six upperclassmen worked with four college professors, doing college level medical research, still in their teens. They impressed the professors, exceeding expectations and paving the way for future students. I compliment Lammelin on getting university faculty on board with the idea, but she stops me. “I didn’t do it – the kids did.” Despite the location, medicine isn’t necessarily the main draw for prospective students. “For a lot of them, it’s the sense of community, not the academics, that they appreciate the most.” There are kids at Bio-Med for STEM, and other because they have a different learning style. Some are here for the school’s openness, other because their parents simply insist. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests, so how did the graduating class turn out? “They all look different. If they look the same, we’ve done something wrong… Our kids graduate feeling confident with who they are and what their abilities are at their best potential.” They are primed to be innovators and risk takers. “Our kids are going to be ok with not always being perfect.” Without her dedicated team of teachers and administrators, she admits it would be impossible. “We all agree to do something incredibly risky with our careers, and incredibly hard. And I think that makes us unique. But I think that’s a good thing.” Interview and tour took place on Thursday, June 9th, 2016.

Photo credit: Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory BATTELLE Education

BATTELLE Education

Profile for Battelle Education

STEM School Road Trip  

At the end of the 2015-16 school here, one of staff members called out to our member schools. In the following weeks, he visited 13 differen...

STEM School Road Trip  

At the end of the 2015-16 school here, one of staff members called out to our member schools. In the following weeks, he visited 13 differen...

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