STEAM school gets state approval

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — A new independent public school has been given the green light to open in Xenia.

Community STEAM Academy — Xenia, which will occupy the former YMCA building in downtown, received approval from the Ohio Department of Education and is expected to open in fall 2022, incorporating the arts into the traditional STEM topics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

CSA-Xenia will operate much like the Dayton Regional STEM School and Global Impact STEM Academy in Springfield in that it’s tuition free and lottery based once all spots are full. Funding comes from the state and is treated like open enrollment, according to school officials.

Once open it will focus on grades 6-10 and roll out other grades in future years.

“It’s been a long time coming for those of us who have been associated with the inspiration for the last two and a half years,” said Dr. Robert Chasnov, CSA-Xenia board chair. “It’s been a really neat effort with a fairly small group of people to see this come to fruition.”

The idea for the school was to provide what CSA-Xenia officials felt was missing from the area.

“I think where most of us have been observing the addition of STEM schools primarily, there’s the Dayton Regional STEM school, there’s the Global Academy up in Springfield,” Chasnov said. “There just seems to be a little pocket here in Greene County that was missing something similar, comparable or what we would consider a step above by adding the arts to it.”

CSA-Xenia will be open to anyone in Ohio, which was a requirement from the state, Chasnov said.

“It makes sense,” he said. “The goal is not to strip away students just from the local Xenia school system, that’s not the idea. The idea is to provide an an opportunity for parents and students to consider from a broader region.”

Does the board expect applicants from Cleveland or Cincinnati? Not likely.

But Chasnov said they anticipate interest from outside Greene County, especially since the State of Ohio is “really focusing on high tech jobs.”

“The need in the economy for the STEM education to produce the highly technical work force is something that is really the hub of what a STEAM academy would be working towards,” he said. “At the K-12 level, they’re all for getting started early.”

The board is anticipating around 300-320 students the first year and it will expand to become K-12 in the future. To help accommodate that, Former Y Xenia LLC, which represents the business side of the school, has purchased the former East High School building and is expected to close on the sale as early as Friday.

It will be renovated and eventually house grades K-5, according to Dr. Jeremy Ervin, founder and chief administrative officer of CSA-Xenia. When that happens, CSA-Xenia would be the first K-12 STEAM school in Ohio according to Ohio Department of Education data.

“Community Steam Academy Xenia has been a passion of mine for many years,” Ervin, a former Cedarville University educator, previously told the Gazette. “Having an opportunity to bring a project-based, student-centered linking with community service, entrepreneur, and college and career readiness has been a passion of mine for a long time. Having an opportunity to become a community school and STEM/STEAM designated allows for another option for the parents of children to offer them kindergarten through 12th grade.”

Open house and application information will be available in the near future, Ervin said.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.