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Carrollton Schools Host Second Annual Robotics Camp

Eric Curts

Mechanization is the way of 21st century life, and with it, the field of robotics is booming.  Robots are vital to our everyday life. Practically everything you can think of uses robots:  industry, aerospace, healthcare, homes, and the military—just to name a few. These things are all dependent on the power of robotics and mechanical engineering.

During Robotics Camp, hosted by Carrollton Exempted Village Schools, students learned to use ROBOTC language to program a robot. This language is an industry standard language.  ROBOTC skills easily transition into proficiency of professional tools used by real engineers!  Also, students can easily transfer this programming language to other types of computer programming applications. 

Camp was held June 1–3, with 37 campers in Camp 1: grades 4–6 and 25 campers in Camp 2:  grades 7–12. Campers traveled from many locations in Ohio including Carrollton, Dellroy, Augusta, Mechanicstown, Salineville, Canton, Wellsville, Bolivar, Bowerston, New Philadelphia, East Rochester, Amsterdam, Malvern, Lore City, Sugarcreek, Massillon, Dover, Sherrodsville, Scio, and even Zanesville.

Camp 1 Participants and Staff: Grades 4–6

Camp 1 Participants and Staff: Grades 4–6

Camp 2 Participants and Staff: Grades 7–12

Camp 2 Participants and Staff: Grades 7–12

The goal for the three-day camp was to give students the opportunity to develop a genuine passion for the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that goes into learning to build and program robots. On day one, campers built their robots with a partner; on day two they programmed them; and finally on day three there was a competition. The competition was a mini-version of the VEX Robotics Competitions for the 2016–17 competition season. Starstruck is the name of the middle and high school competition and Crossover is the name of the elementary competition. More information about VEX Robotics Competitions can be found here:

Developing a Deeper Understanding of Entrepreneurship: D.R.I.V.E. Camp 2016

Eric Curts

Bluetooth-based technology to reduce food waste and simplify grocery shopping; Collaboration between a veterinary office and a nonprofit shelter to give animals facing medical or behavioral challenges a better chance at a forever home; An app that builds community around music sharing and lets users donate to charity by acting as a live DJ for other listeners.

These were just a few of the ideas presented by high school students at the finale for the second annual D.R.I.V.E. Camp at Marietta College.

D.R.I.V.E., which stands for “Dreams + Resources + Innovation + Vision = Entrepreneurship,” is a six-day immersive learning experience developed through the YEC. Students were challenged and supported to analyze their opportunities and resources, and take a product or project from idea to “pitch” in a mere six days. Campers for this year’s program came from Washington, Stark, Guernsey, Belmont, and Noble Counties. The camp staff and volunteers where honored to work with an incredibly creative, motivated, and positive group of young entrepreneurs in this year’s camp session!

2016 D.R.I.V.E. Campers

2016 D.R.I.V.E. Campers

Building on collaborative work among Marietta College, Marietta City Schools, Building Bridges to Careers, TomTod Ideas, and many businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs, the week included community exploration, networking with a variety of local and regional business owners and entrepreneurs, workshops in entrepreneurial mindset, business planning, social media marketing, and pitch development, creative problem-solving challenges, and plenty of fun and networking. One camper explained the impact of the network-building activities, “There’s way more entrepreneurs in the community than I thought that there was. I saw so many entrepreneurs that were so passionate about their idea!”

Along with developing their own ideas, students at D.R.I.V.E. developed a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship, built a personal network of supportive entrepreneurs in the community, learned new tools to help with critical thinking and problem solving, and explored new ideas for their futures. Asked during a closing reflection to sum up her experience of D.R.I.V.E. in five words or less, one camper declared: “This has changed my life.” 

Credentialed Teachers Making Progress!

Eric Curts

Congratulations to the 14 YEC teacher/students finishing up their credentialing to teach dual enrollment. 

The University of Akron's Business Dual Enrollment Certificate is an innovative credentialing program  devoted to helping high school teachers meet credentialing standard for dual credit instructors in the state of Ohio. The credentialing module offers a cohesive set of courses designed specifically for the needs of dual credit teachers, with an emphasis on disciplinary content and its application to college-level courses. All classes are online, allowing busy teachers from all over to fit the classes into their schedules. 

Rocket Man!

Eric Curts

As Elton John’s classic, Rocket Man played in the background, Niki Gordon-Coy’s 8th graders participated in a PBL unit of building a rocket while learning about force, motion, gravity, and speed. Kicking off the lesson, Mrs. Gordon-Coy recapped the grade 8 physical science learning standards (Topic: Forces and Motion), prompting students to explain how objects can exert forces on each other and can cause changes in the motion of the object.



Following a brief demonstration via YouTube on how to construct a rocket using measurements, paper, and tape, students got to work, using creativity, science, and math to construct their rockets. After their rockets were created, students put them into action by launching the rockets using a straw and their own air pressure to power them through the air. While rockets were flying around, students made modifications to their designs (another wing perhaps!) to refine designs, all while recording their findings in a science notebook. 


Student Success on Display!

Eric Curts

More than 225 educators, students, community leaders, business leaders, elected and state officials, and higher education faculty gathered at R.G. Drage on April 12 to celebrate the Student Success Summit. Learners of all ages shared ideas, strategies, and examples of how the YEC is making an impact in Ohio to prepare students for the future.

These are some words that they used to describe the YEC:

copyright 2016

copyright 2016

Entrepreneur Lessons Shared: New Philadelphia Student Started ManCans at Age 13

Eric Curts

This article originally appeared on April 15 in the Canton Repository, authored by Kelli Young, Repository staff writer

A Student Success Summit was held Tuesday where students, teachers and administrators from 12 counties shared what they’ve learned over the past two years as part of the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium, which was funded by a $13.6 million state grant.

Massillon–Hart Main was 13 years old when he started a business in his parent's kitchen to earn enough money to buy a $1,200 bike to better compete in triathlons. 

He decided to make candles that men would enjoy smelling, an alternative to the girly scented candles his sister had been selling for a fundraiser. ManCans launched in 2010 with three scents that were distributed in soup cans.

The company exceeded the $1 million sales mark a few months after Main graduated from New Philadelphia High School in 2015. ManCans now offers 17 scents, including bacon, gun powder, sawdust, dirt, fresh cut grass and campfire. Its offshoot brand, SheCans, provides eight different scent options with names such as fearless, unstoppable, peaceful and awesome.

On Tuesday, Main, now a sophomore at Kent State University pursuing a degree in economics, shared the lessons he learned while developing his company during the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium's Student Success Summit at R.G. Drage Career Technical Center.

Among the experiences he shared, Main recalled when he first began approaching business owners about selling his candles in their stores. He said they would turn to his father, figuring that it was his father who owned and operated the business. He said the experience taught him to leave his father in the car and to present himself as professionally as possible.

"Use big words even when you don't know what they mean," he said.

His other advice included taking advantage of every opportunity even if it means staying up until 2 a.m. on a school night and being ready for success such as sales jumping from 40 to 4,800 candles orders after the Associated Press included the company in a story. He also said that it's important to ensure the company means more to you than just money. ManCans donates 75 cents of each candle sold to soup kitchens throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan, Main said, even though the company no longer uses soup cans to hold the candles.

 About the summit

Tuesday's daylong summit was hosted by the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium, a partnership of 12 school districts, three career and technical centers, four higher education institutions and 12 business and community agencies from a 12-county area. In 2014, the consortium was awarded a $13.6 million state grant to expose students to business and technical career options and the skills needed to succeed in business.

The summit, which had more 220 attendees including 94 students, showcased the multiple ways that the consortium has used the $13.6 million state grant it received in 2014 to help students develop entrepreneurial skills, such as critical thinking, communication and cooperation.

Among the presenters were:

  • Massillon eighth-graders Ja'Sean Myers, Nevaeh Bullock, Zoey Paulus and Lexi Goff, who gave away samples of the brightly colored soap they created for their business, Seasonal Bodies, as part of a Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio program funded by the consortium's state grant. The students said they wanted to create a soap that was fun for kids to use and not expensive. Through the process, they learned how to talk to each other to express their ideas and about the importance of market research. They hope to continue the business beyond the end of the school year.
  • Minerva High School senior Michael Repella, who presented a business plan for his product, The Endobox, which he described as a larger-sized cold pack that keeps items cool through the endothermic reaction of mixing urea and water. Repella said the inspiration for his product came after the nine-day power outage in 2008 when the food in his family's refrigerator spoiled due to the lack of electricity. He said his product would be cheaper and more portable than a generator.
  • Michelle Allison-Palmer, a business teacher at Sandy Valley Local Schools, who is finishing the college classes she needs to earn the credentials that will allow her to teach college-level business courses to her high school students. Allison-Palmer said taking the courses on top of her teaching duties at Sandy Valley was time-consuming, but she believes it was worth the effort because it will help Sandy Valley expand its college-level course offerings. "We're a rural school and we don't have the opportunities the big schools have," she said.
  • Nursing instructors and students from the Mid-East Career and Technology Centers in Zanesville who demonstrated how they use a high-tech, life-like mannequin to improve learning for both high school students and adults. "I could try to describe what wheezing sounds like until I'm blue in the face," practical nurse instructor Rhonda Eldredge said. "Now, I can (program the mannequin) so they can actually hear it." The center bought the $70,000 mannequin with money from the consortium's state grant.

Para Jones, president of Stark State College, told students Tuesday that the skills they are learning through the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium will be applicable whether they pursue a career, go to college first or pursue another path. "You are ahead of a lot of adults in doing this," she said.


Elementary Robotics Teams at Carrollton Advance to the VEX IQ State and World Challenge Competition

Eric Curts

Five Carrollton VEX IQ Robotics teams competed in the 2015–2016 VEX IQ Challenge Competition–Bank Shot. Bank Shot is played on a 4’x8’ rectangular field. Two robots compete in the teamwork challenge as an alliance in 60-second teamwork matches, working collaboratively to score points. Teams also compete in two additional challenges; The Robot Skills Challenge where one robot takes the field to score as many points as possible under driver control; the Programming Skills Challenge where one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously, without any driver inputs. The object of the game is to attain the highest score by emptying cutouts, scoring balls into the scoring zone and goals, and by parking robots on the ramp.

Pictured left to right:  Back row: Kaylee Joseph, Chandra Brammer, John Paul Birong, Braxton Swearingen, Kodi Wells, Collyn Grove; Front row: Ruth Davis, Andrew Birong, Grayson Rodgers

Pictured left to right: Back row: Kaylee Joseph, Chandra Brammer, John Paul Birong, Braxton Swearingen, Kodi Wells, Collyn Grove; Front row: Ruth Davis, Andrew Birong, Grayson Rodgers

Three teams from Carrollton Schools qualified at their home event, held at Bell-Herron Middle School on February 13, 2016, for the 2016 VEX State Championship. One team qualified with the teamwork challenge and two teams qualified in the Programming Skills Challenge. 

In the VEX Competitions, presented by the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, teams of students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play against other teams from around the world in a game-based engineering challenge. Classroom STEM concepts are put to the test on the playing field as students learn lifelong skills in teamwork, leadership, communications, and more. Tournaments are held year-round at the regional, state, and national levels; local champions go on to compete against the best in the world at VEX Worlds each April.

Birong and Swearingen Earn State Record at the VEX IQ State Competition and Qualify for the VEX IQ World Championship

World Championship qualifiers, 5th-graders Braxton Swearingen and John Paul Birong

World Championship qualifiers, 5th-graders Braxton Swearingen and John Paul Birong

Thirty elementary and middle school-level teams from all over the state competed against one another at the VEX State Qualifying Competition for five main awards on Saturday, February 27, 2016.  The competition was held at North Union Middle School in Richwood, Ohio.  Three Carrollton teams placed 1st, 3rd, and 4th in Programming Skills Challenge and are now ranked 1st, 4th, and 6th in the state of Ohio and 159th in the World.

Braxton Swearingen and John Paul Birong earned a state record of 32 points in the Programming Skills Challenge. This score qualifies them to advance to the VEX Worlds in Louisville, Kentucky in April. One team, Collyn Grove, Kodi Wells, and Ruth Davis, advanced to the final round in the Teamwork Challenge and ended the competition ranked 7th overall.

Great job Carrollton Robotics! 


Orrville City Schools Round-Up

Starla Edwards

We recently caught up with Orrville City Schools to hear about what they are up to, and learn about the impact the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium is having on their district, teachers and students.

Here are five exciting things happening in Orrville:

1.       Technology in the classrooms

Orrville was able to achieve full implementation of 1:1 Chromebooks for grades 7–12 this school year, and students and teachers alike are finding new ways to use the technology to enhance learning and teaching. Students at Orrville Middle School use Chromebooks on a daily check-in/check-out system, meaning students use them during the day, but do not take them home. Students at Orrville High School have constant access to their device. Along with finding ways to keep the campus open earlier and later in the day to provide students with Wi-Fi access, the Orrville Public Library has also continued to increase the number of hot spots they have for students and families.

Students at Orrville High School use Chromebooks in the classroom as part of the 1:1 technology program.

Students at Orrville High School use Chromebooks in the classroom as part of the 1:1 technology program.

2.       Interactive Distance Learning

In addition to the Chromebooks, students at Orrville have been taking advantage of interactive distance learning opportunities (IDL). This year, in partnership with four other IDL sites and Stark State College, Orrville was able to offer eight business/entrepreneurship courses. Next year, the district will add six more courses. Having these courses available means that, with careful planning over four years, a high school student at Orrville can almost earn an associate’s degree without ever leaving the high school.

Orville students use distance learning opportunities to take college courses.

Orville students use distance learning opportunities to take college courses.

3.       Problem-Based Learning

Orrville Middle School has 13 teachers (most of the core staff) trained in problem-based learning. This allows grade-level teams to collaborate and plan relevant learning for students. The district is currently planning now for the 2016–2017 school year for how to make the master schedule more conducive to PBL units.

Problem-based learning in action at Orrville.

Problem-based learning in action at Orrville.

4.       Partnerships for Student Opportunities

Orrville City Schools continues to look for partnerships that can provide additional learning opportunities for students. Believe in Ohio was a great success last school year at Orrville High School—locally, regionally, and at the state level. The number of students participating in Believe in Ohio has doubled this current school year!

5.       Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning and Career Connections have helped the district look at their workforce development initiatives. In collaboration with Heartland Education Community, Junior Achievement and the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce, several present and future business/education ventures are being enhanced or developed.


Thank you, Orrville City Schools and Assistant Superintendent Brett Lanz, for telling us a little bit about the great initiatives going on through the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium! Learn more about what’s happening in Orrville City School District.


Tsunami Toy Project—Trash to Treasure!

Starla Edwards

How can you make toys from trash?

While learning about the 2004 Thailand tsunami and studying the devastation it caused, students in Mrs. Foutz’s classroom, in the Minerva Local School District, were given a challenge about the reconstruction and rebuilding that often happens after natural disasters:

How can we as volunteers utilize what is left behind from destruction, to construct toys in such a way that we consider:
• The interest of children
• The durability of toys
• The creativity of the toys

Mrs. Foutz used the project as problem-based learning to address math and science standards. She and the students brought in bags of toys from home that would normally be thrown away, and the seventh grade students got to work, building toys from the “trash” brought in. Once the toys were done, second-grade students in Ms. Syverson’s class used a rubric to select a favorite.

A sampling of the "trash" brought in to use for building toys.

A sampling of the "trash" brought in to use for building toys.

Students working on building toys out of items that normally would be thrown away.

Students working on building toys out of items that normally would be thrown away.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a hallmark of the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium as it encourages students to conduct research and apply knowledge to solve problems. This is a great example of a PBL project that spans both grade levels (including seventh and second grade collaboration), and curriculum content including current events, seventh-grade science standards and second-grade math standards.

About the Author

Becky Miller is a curriculum team leader at Minerva Local School District, where the mission is “every child, every minute, every day.” To learn more about the great things going on at Minerva Local School District, visit

Celebrating National Entrepreneurship Month

Eric Curts

Have you ever wondered what it takes to start your own business? 

In late November, approximately 40 students enrolled in Intro to Business, Human Relations, and Career Search I, courses at Marietta High School for the opportunity to find out firsthand what it means to start your own business. Four local entrepreneurs took time out of their day to discuss their journey during a panel discussion: Ryan Smith from Marietta Adventure Company; Alice Chapman from Ely Chapman Education Foundation; Geoff Schenkel from REsolve Studios; and Michelle Waters from Michelle Waters Photography. The panel was facilitated by Pamela Lankford, Director of the Small Business Development Center in Marietta.


Art, education, and adventure–from all perspectives–self-employment is an option. Students learned that all four entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do. The discussion kicked off with each entrepreneur telling the story of how they got started and why. Pamela highlighted emerging patterns from the discussion, such as common skills necessary and the common actions taken by all four of the entrepreneurs throughout their journey. The discussion ended as an advice-giving session addressing many different areas of life. 

One student asked if they (entrepreneurs) were ever afraid, and if so, did they eventually get over the fear? The answer was ‘yes, there was a lot of fear. And, no, you do not get over it.’ Passion for what they do outweighs the fear, so it is not a barrier to moving forward.

Colin Schaad, a senior at Marietta High School, enjoyed hearing the life stories of the entrepreneurs. He had never heard of the Small Business Development Center, and didn’t realize that there was, “a business meant to help other businesses.” 

Entrepreneur Alice Chapman (Ely Chapman Education Foundation) is an example of a social entrepreneur who wanted to solve the problem of students slipping through the cracks in school. This is not an area of entrepreneurialism that the students had previously encountered. 

The interactive day of learning concluded with a final piece of advice from the panel given to the whole student audience: Take time to explore the multiple options that are out there. 

About the Author

Tasha Werry is currently the Director of Career Resources and Outreach for Marietta City Schools. Her role is to make connections necessary for providing real world career experiences for students. Previously, she taught for 12 years in the Marietta City School system and was the district grant coordinator—a position designed to bridge a disconnect between education and employment. 

Green (Summit) Constructs STEM Classroom to Enhance Learning

Eric Curts

This article originally appeared in the Akron Suburbanite, authored by Eric Poston, correspondent

Sixth-graders at Green Intermediate School have the opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) each day with the creation of the new STEM classroom. Students spend 45 minutes each day engaging in lessons built on STEM concepts.

The classroom has been a vision of Green Intermediate Principal Mark Booth for several years. Located in the basement of the school, the new classroom formerly housed of the old metal and wood shop and later was used for storage.

“I always dreamed of doing something and bringing it alive,” Booth said.  

Construction of the classroom cost $275,000, but the district received a Young Entrepreneurs Straight A Grant in the amount of $1.2 million to put toward the classroom.

The room is completely new, but still has an industrial feel with the duct work being visible. Some of the features of the room include tables that fold up, cubbies for projects, power cords that pull down from the ceiling, upgraded wifi and white boards.  

“It is remarkable to have a space like this in a building built in 1956,” Booth said.  

Booth said the classroom will evolve as time goes on and students will be solving real-world problems using STEM. The district also hopes to expand after-school offerings using the room for a Soap Box Derby Mini Car Lab Project.  

The project allows for students to construct a mini Soap Box Derby car to race on a small track. Local businesses will provide sponsorship by placing their logos on the student's cars.

“I see this as parents and students working together,” Booth said of the project.  

The district is exploring grants through the Soap Box Derby and once the cars are constructed, a race will be held between Green and North Canton students.  

Green Superintendent Jeff Miller said the space wasn't a student space before. But now it’s designed with the students in mind, bringing a new, bright creative space to students.

The room is split into two learning spaces. Both have a set of Chrome Books and soon will have giant tablets on wheels that can be set flat on the floor or moved around.

Miller said mobility is a big word often used about the room.

Teachers Pam Anderson and Sean Mostov teach the STEM classes and often collaborate for projects and lessons. On a recent day, students got to take part in a review game using laptops that allowed them to answer questions that were projected on a screen.

Anderson calls the room the best of both worlds as students can take part in hands-on exercises and use technology.  

“The students get to design and build something with each lesson,” Anderson said.

Students recently built boats to hold pennies as part of a lesson. Mostov said the room provides a wonderful opportunity for students.  

“This is a great opportunity to provide something that wasn't available five to 10 years ago,” Mostov said.


The Art of Welding

Eric Curts

As part of the YEC grant, the students at R. G. Drage Career Technical Center have benefited from new technology in both the academic and career technical lab areas. Providing new and innovative technology allows students to see beyond traditional coursework and pathways. The metal fabrication students are experiencing this as they become creative artists in a manufacturing program that is often times viewed as unimaginative.

Senior Metal Fabrication student, Jacob Thall, presents social studies teacher, Lin Gross with bronze metal roses.

Senior Metal Fabrication student, Jacob Thall, presents social studies teacher, Lin Gross with bronze metal roses.

Bouquet of metal roses and vase, created by R.G. Drage CTC Metal Fabrication students.

Bouquet of metal roses and vase, created by R.G. Drage CTC Metal Fabrication students.

Custom service project–Cincinnati Bearcats

Custom service project–Cincinnati Bearcats

Collaborative junior/senior project–T-Rex!

Collaborative junior/senior project–T-Rex!

Under the leadership of Scott Burdge, R. G. Drage’s veteran metal fabrication instructor, the students are not only gaining experience in providing customer service for business and industry, but are finding that through the “art of welding”, they are making an impact on our community. The new technology in metal fabrication is changing the face of the industry.

Justin Pumneo programs the state-of-the-art Messer EdgeMAX Dual X-Drive cutting machine

Justin Pumneo programs the state-of-the-art Messer EdgeMAX Dual X-Drive cutting machine

The look of the Fairless Local Schools mascot, the falcon, was updated  by the Metal Fabrication class, who created the image; and the Auto Collision class who gave it a shiny new look! 

The look of the Fairless Local Schools mascot, the falcon, was updated  by the Metal Fabrication class, who created the image; and the Auto Collision class who gave it a shiny new look! 

The finished product is now proudly on display at Fairless High School.

The finished product is now proudly on display at Fairless High School.

To find out more about the Metal Fabrication program and all of R. G. Drage’s career technical programs, visit the R.G. Drage website.

Author: Kim Bartholomew, Guidance Counselor, R.G. Drage
R.G. Drage began operation in 1977 with six member school districts and is approved and accredited by the Ohio Department of Education as a two-year public joint vocational school to provide secondary preparation through classroom and lab offerings. 

R.G. Drage is finding innovative ways to connect education with the world of work, and are committed to offering all students opportunities for challenging, meaningful work-based experiences and relevant academics. The mission is to promote education that prepares students for careers, college, and life-long learning. Technology plays an essential role in facilitating quality education and R.G. Drage is committed to keeping pace with business and industry and strives to be on the cutting edge of technology. 

Carrollton Students Tricked & Treated into Learning at the POWER Center's Spooky Science Lab

Eric Curts

Carrollton High School’s ninth grade students were greeted by fog, cobwebs, dancing lasers, and creepy music the morning of Thursday, October 29 when they entered the inaugural Spooky Science Lab at Carrollton’s POWER Training Center.

Almost unrecognizable, teachers in costume gravely pointed students toward the door to the school garden where they were jolted by the flames and popping eyes of the Blast-o-Lantern—an explosive chemistry lesson that students want to learn over and over again!

Next, students rotated around five stations where gourds, pumpkins, mirrors, and other seasonally-themed props helped them learn scientific lessons, such as Bernoulli’s Principle, The Law of Conservation of Energy, motion aftereffects, and the concepts behind optical illusions. Sound waves and vibrations were explored as students watched reflected lasers dance to the bass tones of scary movie soundtracks, and, as a souvenir, each student made a cup-and-string apparatus to take “ghost laughter” with them for the rest of the day. 

Most mysterious of all was Frankenstein’s Laboratory station where students stuck their hands into dark boxes to feel “worms,” “eyeballs,” “a dead lady’s hand,” “monster boogers,” and other ooey, gooey things while trying to guess what those objects really were.

Finally, the students got to enjoy a seasonal favorite fruit and participate in a real scientific study. The Midwest Apple Improvement Association provided four new, unnamed apple varieties for students to try. They voted for their favorites, and their feedback will be used to help the organization select varieties to patent and release to market.

The Spooky Science Lab is a true embodiment of STEM education: teaching science through hands-on activities, incorporating a variety of technologies, and providing real-world connections to scientific research.

And that’s not all! On Friday, October 30, high school students became the teachers as they led Carrollton Elementary second graders through the Spooky Science Lab and taught the same concepts that they had learned the day before. 

About the Author

Amy Miller is the Grants and Community Services Coordinator at Carrollton Exempted Village School District. She manages the POWER Training Center and Outdoor Learning Campus, a new STEM program that was funded by the first two rounds of Straight A funding. The POWER campus offers hands-on learning opportunities for students of all ages and for all subjects at Carrollton Schools. 

To hear more about the POWERful things happening at Carrollton Exempted Village School District, visit

Explore. Dream. Discover

Eric Curts

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  These words spoken by Mark Twain ring true for us as adults, but even more so for the hopes and dreams we have for our children. 

Instilling the ideas of anything being possible and dreaming as a means to explore and discover, not just imagine, are important for our youth.

The Young Entrepreneurs Consortium provides endless opportunities for the students in the 12 partner districts and three career and technical centers to take the concepts of entrepreneurism and make them a reality.

Stark State College has had the privilege of offering several entrepreneurial pathways for these students, which embrace four core components: problem-based learning, work-based learning, entrepreneurship coursework, career advising, and counseling. Our goal is to provide the students the soft skills, qualities, habits, and academic skills that characterize effective entrepreneurs. Additionally, the courses offered are providing them with a head start on their college education and future career. 

There are several pathways available to students, so they can determine the amount of time they would like to devote to dual credit during their high school years.

First, a Career Enhancement Certificate in Entrepreneurship/Business is available for 12 credit hours. The Certificate will signify to future employers that students possess entrepreneurial skills important to success in the workplace (communication, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, etc.). Next, students can pursue a 15 to 17 credit hour pathway, which enhances the Certificate slightly and allows them to earn more college credits while in high school. A third option is a One-Year Entrepreneurship Certificate, which is 32 credit hours of college-level coursework focused on business and entrepreneurial studies, as well as some general education, core college classes. Finally, a student can pursue a complete Associate Degree in Entrepreneurial Students for 64 credit hours. Students electing to take this pathway will graduate from high school with an associate degree, and will have completed 50 percent of a bachelor’s degree. 

Regardless of the pathway selected by the students, Stark State College is proud to be part of an innovative consortium providing students with opportunities, possibilities and the foundation for their dreams to lead to exploration, discovery and their future plans.  

About the Author
Para M. Jones, Ph.D., is president of Stark State College, one of the largest of Ohio’s 23 community colleges. She also served as President of Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina and has been a community college leader for 28 years. Dr. Jones holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska, an MBA with honors from Ashland University and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Mount Union.

What do you or your child see for their future? To learn and earn credits in high school to grow in college and beyond visit the YEC Entrepreneurship Coursework.

Hornets Buzz About Chromebooks

Eric Curts

The Malvern Hornets of Brown Local School District is “buzzing” about the many wonderful opportunities we have been able to pursue being a part of the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium. A few examples of these opportunities include teachers becoming dual credentialed, the development and implementation of problem-based learning units, and the involvement with Believe in Ohio

These opportunities impact student learning greatly, but the biggest “buzz” from the grant was our technology purchases and made an immediate impact with our students. We had a goal of providing our students with the access to a device anytime, anywhere in our district. We feel we have accomplished this goal with using the grant to purchase 330 Chromebooks in 11 portable storage carts and 120 tablets in four portable storage carts that were distributed throughout our district. Brown Local was able to upgrade our infrastructure to support this new initiative as well. 

One of the greatest feelings felt among our staff was when we were rolling these carts out to the classrooms. A high school student saw us and said, ‘Are these computers REALLY for us?’ He had a smile from ear to ear because he could not believe he would be doing schoolwork on a computer.

Teachers and students began using the technology immediately. It is now hard to walk down the hall or pass the library without seeing the use of technology. Everyone is “buzzing” about the new purchases. We hear community members talking about the new computers at sporting events, social functions and even while getting your teeth cleaned. 

The Chromebooks especially have helped change our thought process in terms of collaboration, communication, and moving toward paperless classrooms. We have started to see a change in the way we purchase materials and make curriculum decisions. Recently, we were able to pursue programs that will help us gather valuable diagnostic data on our students, which will allow teachers to make data-driven decisions in helping our students grow academically.  

The technology additions helped change the way our students gather, explore, and learn information, while developing 21st century skills.
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About the Author:
Tom Nunziato, Curriculum Director, Brown Local Schools is in his 18th year at Brown Local Schools, and serving his second year as the Curriculum Director.  Most of his 18 years were taught in grades 4–8 math in both Malvern Middle and Malvern Elementary Schools. Tom holds a 1–8 Lead Professional Teacher License, 4–12 Principal License, and is National Board Certified in AY Mathematics.

To hear more “buzz” and the great things happening in Brown Local Schools, visit

Creativity Counts!

Eric Curts

In Year 1 of the YEC grant, educators from YEC districts authored 70 problem-based learning units ranging from grade 6–12 in math, ELA, technology, social studies, science, and career tech. Problem-based learning is an instructional approach designed to encourage students to conduct research and apply knowledge and skills to solve a problem. This student-centered approach to learning promotes creative thinking, teamwork, problem solving, and flexibility, which are all important skills for success in college and on the job. Many of the units that have been designed by YEC teachers are cross curricular and extremely creative! Doesn’t this pique your interest to learn more?

Here's Our Top 10 List of Favorite Titles

  1. Save a Farm—Move Underground (ELA, Grade 6)
  2. Alien Invaders at Camp (ELA, Science, Math: Grade 6–8)
  3. Thyme to Turnip Tha Beet (Social Studies: Grade 6–9)
  4. The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe (ELA: Grade 9–11)
  5. Ebola Containment System (ELA: Grade 12)
  6. Improving Recycling Containers (Math: Grade 7)
  7. Mission to Mars (Math, Science: Grade 8)
  8. NASCAR: The Science of Speed (Science: Grade 8)
  9. What’s Your Rights? (Social Studies: Grade 8)
  10. Invention Competition (Social Studies, Math, Technology, Science: Grade 7)

Check out the PBL section for more examples of problem-based learning.

Young Entrepreneurs: Inspiring Young Minds for Great Futures

Eric Curts

This post originally appeared in the Battelle for Kids Learning Hub.

The 12-county area that spans northeast to southeast Ohio along the Appalachian rim carries a rich history of entrepreneurs—from Rufus Putnam, who led the expedition to Ohio’s first settlement in Marietta, to Colonel Ebenezer Zane, who built Zane’s Trace, a major early road through the Northwest Territory, to John D. Rockefeller, who founded Standard Oil in northeast Ohio in 1870. Today, a consortium of 31 education, community, and business partners is working to build on this entrepreneurial past to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs to transform the region’s economy. 

Like many parts of the country, eastern Ohio has faced challenges with unemployment—10 of the 12 counties in the region have a higher unemployment rate than Ohio’s average—degree attainment, and “brain drain,” as talented young people leave for jobs elsewhere. According to State Impact, the rate at which college graduates leave the state for jobs is higher in northeast and southeast Ohio than the national average.

To address these challenges, the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium (YEC) was formed as an innovative model for community engagement and increasing the flow of young entrepreneurs in the state. The YEC is comprised of 12 school districts, three career and technical centers, four higher education partners, and 12 business/community partners, serving more than 26,500 students—equal to the fourth largest school district in Ohio. Funded through a grant from Ohio’s Straight A Fund, the consortium’s goal is to increase student achievement and encourage and nurture important life skills associated with an entrepreneurial mindset—collaboration, communication, problem-solving, creativity, and self-discipline.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Consortium has provided local businesses the structure and means to collaborate with community youth in a mentorship, educational, and collaborative fashion…The project forces everyone to reassess how students prepare for their future.” 

—Patty Main, Curriculum Director, Sandy Valley Local Schools

In high school, students will participate in dual enrollment courses, allowing them to receive high school and college credit concurrently. Through a customized entrepreneurship program at Stark State College, students can complete as many as 68 hours in the Entrepreneurship Pathway and attain an associate degree (through grade 14). In addition, students have access to work-based or experiential learning opportunities through business partnerships, Junior Achievement of Ohio, Believe in Ohio. An entrepreneurship summer camp, hosted by Marietta College, is also available to students. 

An important component of the YEC is the partnership with higher education institutions to coordinate the credentialing of educators to teach dual enrollment courses to students. In partnership with the University of Akron and Kent State University, the YEC has built programs that offer accessible online master’s degree programs in its priority content areas of English, mathematics, and business. The 15 districts in the consortium will share teachers by leveraging an enhanced technological infrastructure with more bandwidth, better services, and smarter devices that support a digital, blended, and online interactive curriculum. 

“It is impressive to walk into classrooms and see total interaction and engagement. The technology has also supported the problem-based learning units and has enhanced the learning outcomes.”

—Holly Mastrine, Southeast Local Schools

In the first year of implementation, the YEC has already seen a significant impact on students and educators, including: 

  • A 55 percent projected increase in dual enrollment participation from the 2014–2015 to 2015–2016 school year, which will result in significant tuition cost savings for students and their families.
  • The creation of 21st century classrooms in 15 districts that include makerspaces, 1-to-1 technology, mobile labs, and flexible space learning labs.
  • More than 2,000 students participated in work-based learning experiences, including apprenticeships, internships, mentoring, and job shadowing.
  • Teachers created 60 new, cross-content problem-based learning units.
  • Recruited 35 teachers to participate in dual enrollment credentialing programs in English, math, and business. 

D.R.I.V.E.-ing Innovation & Creativity

Eric Curts

“Entrepreneurs can be successful in a small community where everyone knows each other and wants to see you succeed.” –D.R.I.V.E. camper

2015 D.R.I.V.E Entrepreneurship Camp, Marietta College

Eighteen creative young innovators participated in a week of immersion into a world of entrepreneurial thinking and creative business development during the D.R.I.V.E. Summer Camp at historic Marietta College in June. The annual camp, offered through the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium is geared toward rising 7–12th graders. This year’s campers were joined by five Marietta College students, three current Marietta College faculty/staff members, six Marietta City Schools’ teachers, and two Building Bridges to Careers’ staff members for a fun-filled week of hands-on learning, skill development, and exploration.

Campers had several opportunities to learn about exciting new technology and ways to create and develop their own ideas for new ventures by visiting Whit’s Custard, REsolve Studio, Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Pickering Energy Solutions and 1Million Cups Cleveland at Red Space/Hot Cards. In addition, speakers from ClutchMOV and West Virginia Social Media Consultants, LLC visited to share expertise. The focus of the week was to identify and work on an entrepreneurship project in a chosen area of focus: technology, art, energy/sustainability, education, and community service.

Activities included design thinking, personal reflection, social media, community service, marketing, and public speaking. Creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication–all 21 century skills–were emphasized during the camp. One camper remarked, “Seeing all these people become entrepreneurs makes me feel like I can.”  

The weeklong camp produced a network of new friends, college student mentors, and academic and professional advisers. “I believe that I possess some of the needed skills,” shared a camper. Added another, “I know what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”

The YEC extends a special thank you to Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Director of Civic Engagement at Marietta College, for organizing and overseeing the camp.

Check out the dynamic video of campers in action!

For more information about the D.R.I.V.E camp as well as other hands-on learning opportunities available to students, visit the Work-Based Learning section of the website.

Girls Rule!

Eric Curts

Promoting STEM education for girls in grades 6-9

Promoting STEM education for girls in grades 6-9

Middle and high school students from Minerva Local and East Canton attended the “Tech Savvy Girls” workshop held Saturday, April 25th at Stark State College. Tech Savvy prepares girls to be a scientists, engineers, or technology experts. A special session for parents and families demonstrated how to encourage young women on their path to college and a career.

This experience enriched the middle school curriculum and problem-based learning (PBL) at both districts. For example, the 7th grade STEM class in East Canton, taught by Michelle Peterson and work-based learning opportunities in science, lead by department head, Stacey Peters, at Minerva High School.  Both teachers also attended the event as well as the districts’ curriculum team leader, Becky Miller.

"We are grateful to all three organizations for making this possible for the girls, as this (grades six through nine) is an impressionable age," stated Becky Miller.

The event was funded by the Aluminum Company of America Foundation and presented by American Association for University Women (AAUW). Stark State College, a partner with both schools through the Young Entrepreneurs Consortium sponsored the event.

Author Becky Miller is a Stark County Educational Service Center employee serving Minerva and Osnaburg Local School Districts as Title I Coordinator and Curriculum Team Leader.  She has worked in Carroll and Stark County as educator and administrator for over 20 years.


Shining a Light on Education

Eric Curts

Pictured with Representative Schuring are:    Barb Cockroft, State Support Team Region 9; Todd Boggs, Superintendent; Becky Miller, Curriculum Director; Lisa Gothard & Jason Hall, teachers; Joe Conrad, Anthony Hammen, Matthew Gothard, Carter McClaskey, Logan McGee, and Amelia Pennell, students

Pictured with Representative Schuring are: Barb Cockroft, State Support Team Region 9; Todd Boggs, Superintendent; Becky Miller, Curriculum Director; Lisa Gothard & Jason Hall, teachers; Joe Conrad, Anthony Hammen, Matthew Gothard, Carter McClaskey, Logan McGee, and Amelia Pennell, students

In early March, a team of students and teachers from East Canton met with Representative Kirk Schuring (pictured center) to show their appreciation for his work and thank him for supporting public school efforts. During the meeting, students and teachers shared problem-based learning (PBL) lessons with him, including units called the “Playground Mulch Project” and “Raising the Obelisk.”  Both units come from real-life problems. For example, the school needed to cost effectively mulch the playground and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History needed to move a 200-foot solid marble statue using ancient tools only! 

Problem-based learning is an instructional approach teachers use to encourage students to apply his/her knowledge and skills to solve a problem. East Canton educators are seeing that the student-centered approach to learning promotes creative thinking, teamwork, problem solving, and flexibility, which are all important skills for success in college and on the job. The PBL units showcased were examples of quality teaching and learning. 

Superintendent Todd Boggs stated, “The trip to the State House benefitted the students and Rep. Schuring, as it provided students an opportunity to showcase the YEC grant work; and with Rep. Schuring’s undivided attention, to shine light on public education.”

Learn more about PBL units being used in YEC classrooms.