Cincinnati State STEM Academy puts kids in need on a fast track to graduation and college

CINCINNATI – The idea to bring a charter high school specializing in science and math to Cincinnati State's main campus started off, in part, as a selfish one for President O'Dell Owens.

"We needed to develop a pipeline for students who are prepared to come to Cincinnati State," he said.

But if he was acting in self-interest, it was enlightened self-interest, considering Cincinnati State STEM Academy's focus on drawing low-income students onto college tracks and into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The 150 students hail from struggling school districts like Mount Healthy and North College Hill as well as Cincinnati. Three in four students qualify for free or reduced price lunches, and most are African-Americans.

The school opened in 2012 as a center for credit-recovery students – those who had fallen behind with incomplete or failing grades at other schools. Many had a few courses left to graduate, and 76 received their diplomas last spring.

Now, the real work is beginning.

Insiders can see how.

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