National Inventors Hall of Fame® School…Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and

Traci Buckner
Meeting Materials

Opened in 2009, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® School…Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning is designed to be a unique and comprehensive STEM middle school that promotes problem-based learning. The Akron STEM School is unique in its ability to partner not only with local businesses and institutions, but also with national organizations. Instruction by local engineers and world-renowned inventors is built into the curriculum. Every part of the school day—from classroom learning and assignments to daily activities—incorporates the spirit of Akron, a philosophy of innovation and creativity.

The school’s vision is to provide the highest quality education experience for students that ensures creativity and inventive thinking through a focus on science, mathematics and technology. To ensure this goal is met, the school follows nine program design qualities that serve as a framework for student success. These components are high performance standards; leadership; knowledgeable and skilled educators; curriculum, instruction and assessment; environment for learning; family, community and school partners; student as learner; systems for sustainable operations; and, learning organization. This approach is proving to be successful so far. In the school’s first two years of Ohio Achievement Assessments, the school ranked excellent each year. In addition to this, the school serves as a research site for various institutions, such as: The Institute for Health and Social Policy at The University of Akron, the Metiri Group and the University of Chicago’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE).

The Akron STEM School has quickly become a national go-to source for how a school can teach students to be creative. “Perry’s Principles,” a segment of Anderson Cooper’s 360° on CNN, followed Akron STEM School learners in a problem-based learning activity helping park rangers rid an area of its autumn olive trees. A Newsweek feature article titled “The Creativity Crisis” focused on a noise reduction project at the Akron STEM School that required learners research material, budgets, aesthetics, and maintenance proposals. The result, as the article worded it, was that, “They’d unwittingly mastered Ohio’s required fifth-grade curriculum—from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing.”

The OSLN Akron Hub exists to build, capture and connect the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to each other and to those in the community who can benefit. While doing so, it leverages partnerships in alignment with economic development priorities. Based at the Akron STEM School, the hub staff is employed by the University of Akron. This is a perfect example of partnership at work. Partnerships helped found the school and the hub and they continue to increase the spread of knowledge and opportunities for creative endeavors. The founding partners of the NIHF-STEM School and OSLN Akron Hub are

  • Akron Public Schools
  • Akron Tomorrow/Greater Akron Chamber
  • City of Akron
  • Invent Now (formerly the National Inventors Hall of Fame®)
  • The University of Akron.

For More Information

The Akron STEM School
Please contact Traci J. Buckner, Instructional Leader, National Inventors Hall of Fame® School … Center for STEM Learning at or visit

The OSLN Akron Hub
Please contact Alison White, Grant Communications Coordinator, The University of Akron and Ohio STEM Learning Network Akron Hub at or visit