LCCC partners with North Ridgeville City Schools to establish the first STEM academy in Lorain County

A longstanding partnership between Lorain County Community College and North Ridgeville City Schools (NRCS) continues to hatch new opportunities for North Ridgeville students. LCCC offers College Credit Plus (CCP) classes at North Ridgeville High School, allowing students to earn college credits while still in high school. Since 2013, nearly 400 North Ridgeville students have earned 5,267 college credits before graduating high school — at no cost to themselves — saving their families more than $900,000 in tuition.

Now, a partnership between NRCS and LCCC is expanding the opportunities for advanced learning.

New school focused on STEM

In the fall of 2017, NRCS partnered with LCCC to establish Ranger High-Tech Academy, a project-based learning environment focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The academy opened to students in grades four to seven last year, expanding to grades three to eight this year.

Last year, 11 seventh-graders qualified to take CCP classes at the new academy. A few went on to take summer CCP courses to hone their computer skills, and then continued the program as eighth-graders this year.

Eventually, they may attend CCP classes at LCCC’s Ridge Campus in North Ridgeville, which houses the college’s University Partnerships for Computer Science and Engineering.

School-aged girl working on robotic equipment

The only public school in Lorain County to receive STEM designation from the Ohio Department of Education, Ranger High-Tech Academy offers an advanced curriculum grounded in real-world skills.

“Our goal is to not only make these learning opportunities more accessible for students, but to create pathways that bridge the district’s K-12 curriculum and the college’s,” says LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “Because of our direct partnership with employers, we understand how an increasingly digital world is impacting their talent needs. And with this collaboration, we can ensure that North Ridgeville students have opportunities for success in a STEM-related career.”

Shared vision for success

When NRCS welcomed Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio in August 2018, she and Ballinger connected around their shared vision to advance the community.

“We’re so fortunate to have LCCC in our backyard and that we can, together, provide a high-quality, cutting-edge program to meet our students’ needs,” Ramsey-Caserio says. “Ranger High-Tech Academy provides pathways and affordable options for students to earn college credit.”

By connecting the dots between K-12 education, college curriculum and the job skills that local employers need, LCCC and NRCS are creating seamless alignment.

“We’re very proud of Ranger High-Tech Academy,” Ramsey-Caserio says. “It’s an exciting, unique asset for our school district, and one we want to continue to grow.”

What is a STEM school?

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

According to the Ohio Department of Education, “The goal of STEM schools is to foster intellectual, entrepreneurial and technical talent. This is vital to Ohio’s future economic growth and prosperity, which depends on an aligned education system to support the state’s economic development
efforts and that helps all Ohio students become innovators and inventors, self-reliant and logical thinkers and technologically proficient problem solvers.”