STEM opening doors for open house

By Joseph Pratt

July 14, 2014

By Joseph Pratt


The Portsmouth STEM Academy is preparing for its first ever open house, in which they will reveal the product of years of planning and ideas coming together.

Portsmouth STEM Academy will open for their first year this fall and will serve students from kindergarten through eighth grade, with the goal of getting a high school operational in upcoming years. The school, while having a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) focus, will also be heavily involved in other branches of pedagogy, in hopes of creating well-rounded students.

Another focal point that the school officials have been working on is getting their students active in the community in various educational outreach programs. Board President Francesca Hartop, who is also responsible for founding the academic institution, has been adamant on the school interconnecting with the community.

The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) will be providing art lessons, Cirque d’Art Theare will be providing a physical outlet, local businesses will be working with the school and more. The school will also be planning field trips to places like the zoo and other educational environments.

All programming and field trips is included into the cost of tuition and students will have no extra fees. The only additional cost a student might have is if he buys his lunch at the specialized menu from The Garage Café on Second Street. The school is even offering free childcare from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The construction of the school is rearing completion, with only cosmetic and final touches being added to the school.

“We still have a lot to do. Furniture and supplies are still being ordered, but we are nearly ready to move in, which is exciting,” Hartop said. “We already have lesson plans for the first few weeks prepared, we have accounts setup for online tools, equipment lists and furniture lists are all in and we are receiving them all at various points in time. It is fun to realize we are doing the school stuff now, opposed to just the planning.”

The Portsmouth STEM Academy will start their fall trimester on Aug. 18 and wrap up class Dec. 19. The spring trimester will begin Jan. 5 and end on May 1. The summer trimester will start May 18 and will wrap up the year on July 31. The school hours will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuition is set at $559 a month. Information on financial aid is available online and students can be awarded up to 50 percent of tuition cost.

“We’ve heard very positive things by people and teachers from other schools. Parents are also very excited for it and we already have a waiting list for next year. Not that we are at full capacity this year, we have 17 students in the school and two pending applications and our ideal size is 20-25 students, but we have parents with children who are turning of age next year or want to see the first year completed and then they are interested in enrolling.”

More information on Portsmouth STEM Academy can be found online at www.PortsmouthAcademy.org.

“I feel really good about everything coming together,” Headteacher Diana Marsh said. “The programs that we are choosing and the collaborations we are hosting are going to make everything quite an impressive offer for local children.”

Open houses will run July 23, 24, 29, and 30th from 6-8 p.m. at the school, 614 Third St., Portsmouth.

Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.