CMSD, KeyBank Partner on MC2STEM School at CSU

Photo courtesy of CMSD Communications.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District's MC2STEM High School is complete now that its juniors and seniors have found a permanent home on the Cleveland State University campus.

The innovative school, which specializes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, celebrated at a grand opening last month, along with leaders from the district, Cleveland State University and KeyCorp. 

The KeyBank Foundation contributed $1.25 million to renovate space for the students on two floors of Rhodes Tower and has given more than $2.5 million to STEM education in the district. The facilities at CSU include a "fab lab" equipped with computers linked to laser-powered cutters and other machinery.

"This is a statement of our commitment to this program," said Margot James Copeland, executive vice president of KeyBank and chair of the foundation, "but more importantly, this is a statement of our belief in the young people of this community.”

MC2STEM, launched in 2008, holds ninth grade classes at the Great Lakes Science Center, while tenth grade attends school in a building at GE's Nela Park complex in East Cleveland. Employees from GE and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field work with the students.

Juniors and seniors previously attended classes at the district's Health Careers Center, but CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said supporters of the school had always hoped for more.

"We always envisioned that we would land our students on a college campus," Gordon said. "This is the final block of a dream."

Principal Jeffrey McClellan said the location is ideal because it’s on Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Healthline, allowing students to travel easily from school to internships. Juniors and seniors also get comfortable in a college atmosphere and can take university classes for credit.

"It really tells the kids,'You're going to college,'" McClellan said. "That's the expectation for everyone. We don't just talk about it, we actually put them here."

All of MC2STEM's 2012 graduates were accepted at colleges and universities. Most of this year's seniors have been accepted, and letters continue to come in.

MC2STEM's current enrollment stands around 350 and is expected to top 400 next year.

Cleveland State President Ronald Berkman told an audience at the grand opening that placing MC2STEM at the university has helped to create an "integrated educational biosphere."

"We all serve the same children eventually," he said. "We all serve the same mission. We all serve the same goal."

Astronaut Stephanie Wilson, the second African-American in space, spoke at MC2STEM's grand opening. Wilson, who flew aboard a mission of the shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station in 2006, told students: "Outer space is the limit to what you can achieve."

Dr. Julian Earls, retired director of the NASA Glenn Research Center, was in attendance. Earls, now executive in residence at Cleveland State's Monte Ahuja College of Business, has been an advocate of making STEM education available to minority children.

"There is a shortage of engineers and scientists in this nation," he said. "We cannot afford to overlook any resource."

Mike Scott

Mike Scott is part of the CMSD News Bureau Communications Department.

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Volume 3, Issue 12, Posted 2:04 PM, 12.05.2013