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Brittany Halpin

Associate Director for Media Relations
(614) 728-5959

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Ohio Department of Education Press Releases

Ohio Schools Join Statewide Challenge to Fight Opioid Abuse

Release date: 11/14/2016

STEM network and state organize push to create student-directed solutions

Ohio is facing a major opioid overdose crisis. And as many Ohio families fight opioid abuse, the impact cascades into the learning environments in Ohio schools. Today, the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio STEM Learning Network are announcing a program to help schools better prepare for this crisis.

This year, several Ohio science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) schools will complete design challenges aimed at understanding and eliminating Ohio’s opioid crisis. A design challenge is a multi-week project in which students learn by creating new solutions to real-world problems. Design challenges offer an approach to problem-based learning that can go deep into content areas while offering students a wide range of questions to consider.

Throughout the year, the Ohio STEM Learning Network will post resources and events to support schools in organizing local design challenges that will help in the fight against opioid abuse. A page on the Ohio STEM Learning Network website,, provides templates and early guidance on creating a design challenge. The network also is hosting two free informational webinars on design challenges in November.

The Ohio Department of Education is supporting the effort with public appearances by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria and amplifying these opportunities through the department's communications channels.

“Real-world challenges offer students powerful opportunities to lock in learning,” said DeMaria, superintendent of public instruction. “With this challenge, Ohio students will put their learning to the test to help solve a critical challenge facing our state.”

All Ohio schools are welcome to participate. Schools interested in participating should visit and register to receive information about support and promotion opportunities.

Several Ohio STEM Learning Network schools already have started planning design challenges fighting opioid abuse. Participating schools include:

  • Bio-Med Science Academy
  • DECA Prep
  • Dayton Early College High School
  • Dayton Regional STEM School   
  • Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Geauga iSTEM Early College High School
  • Metro Early College High School
  • Metro Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern Local High School
  • Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy
  • Reynoldsburg (HS)2 Academy
  • Reynoldsburg STEM Middle at Baldwin Road
  • STEM Academy of Lawrence County at Collins Career-Technical Center

The Ohio STEM Learning Network, managed by Battelle, was created as a public-private partnership in 2008. Today, more than 30 STEM schools and seven regional hubs make up the network.

“Ohio created this network of schools to serve as a catalyst for field testing promising ideas in education,” said Aimee Kennedy, vice president of education, STEM learning, and philanthropy at Battelle. “In classrooms across the state, students will be mastering the content they need while laying the groundwork for a drug-free future.”


About Battelle
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit

About the Ohio Department of Education
The Ohio Department of Education oversees the state’s public education system, which includes public school districts, joint vocational school districts and charter schools. The Department also monitors educational service centers, other regional education providers, early learning and child care programs, and private schools. The Department’s tasks include administering the school funding system, collecting school fiscal and performance data, developing academic standards and model curricula, administering the state achievement tests, issuing district and school report cards, administering Ohio’s voucher programs, providing professional development, and licensing teachers, administrators, treasurers, superintendents and other education personnel. The Department is governed by the State Board of Education with administration of the Department the responsibility of the superintendent of public instruction.

Media Contact:

Katy Delaney
(614) 424-7208

T.R. Massey
(614) 424-5544

Brittany Halpin
Ohio Department of Education
(614) 728-5959