The Olentangy Academy will begin its first academic year when school starts on Aug. 12.
“The Olentangy Academy will be the new home to four of the district’s innovative educational programs, including the Academy for Community Transition (ACT), Mentorship, OASIS and the STEM program,” according to the Olentangy Local Schools’ website.
The ACT program helps students with special needs to prepare for life after graduation. The Mentorship program allows seniors to mentor with professionals in the community during the school day. The district’s site said the OASIS program is “a unique, student-centered educational program for families who are looking for a different option than the traditional school setting.”
While the district has offered ACT, Mentorship and OASIS programs previously, the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program is new. The STEM program is said to teach students how to be innovative, conduct research, solve real-world problems. and think like an engineer.
“Educators have been busy during the summer months setting up a STEM environment in the building and are excited to help students get acquainted with the program’s high-tech instructional tools, including 3D printers, robots, and more,” the district said.
The 20,000 square-foot Olentangy Academy on Graphics Way in Lewis Center was formerly an Ohio State University branch. However, it became vacant when Ohio State agreed to allow its students to attend classes at the Columbus State Community College’s Delaware branch for OSU credits.
“It is something that we have been looking at for a while,” Superintendent Wade Lucas said in 2014 after the Olentangy Board of Education voted to lease the building. “Additional programming space in the district is very important, and it allows us approximately 18 classrooms.”
“The former OSU branch building will provide the district with some breathing room as we continue to study our long-term growth,” board member Julie Wagner-Feasel said following the board vote. The Academy building may allow the district to operate longer with its existing 23 schools, instead of building a new school.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.