Welcome to the Hive!

The Hive Staff, 2021-2022

Havann Brown — Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Cocchiola — Associate Editor

McKenna Burchett — Associate Editor

CJ Delaney — Reporter

Elise Miller — Reporter

Randall Hatfield — Reporter

Camryn Myrla— Reporter

Mallory Butcher — Reporter

Jesse Mitchell — Reporter

Logan Cook — Reporter

Avery Livezey — Reporter

Alex Levy — Reporter

Cadence Gutman — Reporter

Aiden Hills — Reporter

Meadow Sandy — Reporter

Ms. Jenna Bates — Adviser

*The Hive provides students with the opportunity to express creativity, to learn journalism techniques and principles, and to learn about the rights and responsibilities of public expression in our democratic society. The Hive is produced entirely by students and not subject to prior content review. Bio-Med Science Academy’s Governing Board assumes no liability for the newspaper’s content.


The Battle of Banned Books

by Alexandra Levy, staff writer

October 2021 – Banned Book Week helps students and readers to defy the censorship of literature; during the designated week, organizations promote books that have been prohibited by numerous institutions.

Banned Book Week was Sept. 26 through Oct. 2 2021. The week was created by Library Activist Judith Krug to encourage people to read books that have been banned or challenged for a variety of reasons. Krug argued that many of the banned books were unfairly challenged and still deserved adequate exposure. 

Throughout Banned Book Week, a list of that year’s challenged and banned books is publicly released through the American Library Association’s (ALA) website. Participants in Banned Book Week pick one or more books from the list and read it within the week. According to the ALA, the majority of books are challenged by public schools and school libraries. 

Tenth-Grade English teacher, Ms. Tracie McFerren, defended students’ right to read banned books. “I have never agreed with the banned book list. I have taught many great works in my 13 years of teaching that have either been challenged or banned, such as ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ‘1984,’ ‘Of Mice and Men,’ ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God,’ ‘A Separate Peace,’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Where would we be without these great pieces of literature?” 

Pictured is a banned book sign outside of Ms. Bates’s classroom. The poster features books such as “The Hunger Games,” “The Color Purple,” and “The Kite Runner.”

“Sensitive topics in historical literature should be addressed. They should not be ignored but instead discussed and analyzed so we as a society can understand why things happen and how to change for the better,” expressed McFerren. 

McFerren is currently teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. The book tells the story of a white lawyer defending a Black man that has been falsely accused of rape. Hanover County, VA School district banned the book shortly after its release in 1966, claiming that the issues the book addressed were “immoral.”

The criteria for a book to be banned is allegedly undefined. The looseness of criteria has allowed books to be banned for representing members of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color. Feminism, the practice of advocating for equal rights, was another reason that books were challenged or banned this year. 

Later this school year, Ms. Jenna Bates, 11th grade English teacher, will  teach another banned book, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood. The novel depicts a future-dystopian society that treats women as property of the state. The setting of the novel was used to demonstrate the importance of women’s rights. The Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC) has reported that numerous public schools have challenged “The Handmaid’s Tale” on the account of “vulgar and sexual overtones.”

“I think ‘banned’ is a very strong word,” explained Bates. “Generally speaking, I’m against banning any subject. But I do think that teachers should exercise their professional judgment about the topics that they teach, [and] make them age appropriate, present them in a way that is academic, and in a way that students can understand.”

“Vulgar language” was the reason for banning hundreds of books. Both of the aforementioned books, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” have been banned for profane phrases. The purpose was to “shield” students from mature language. 

Teachers felt that the language could help students understand the context and historical time period. However, they understood students’ discomfort towards certain words. 

“When quoting literature, I do ask that students censor offensive language as I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable in my classroom. I discuss the offensive language in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in advance with my classes and explain how it demonstrates the time period and the racism,” McFerren noted. Her classroom policy discourages repeating harmful language in quotes.

However, classroom policies are varied, causing students to often question how they should write quotes from texts with obscene language. 

Sophomore Irene Scherer commented, “I feel like if [profanity is] not hurting anyone it should be quoted directly. If it is used to purposefully hurt or attack someone, then it should not be written word-for-word.”

Bates concluded, “I would never teach a book just because it was banned. If it is a book that has significant value, either because it has historical value, it’s beautiful, [or] its themes are universal, and it also happens to be banned, I’m not going to back off from a book simply because it was banned.”

Further information about Banned Book Week can be found here.

Arts & Culture Uncategorized

Behind the Scenes of Accelerated Term

by Elise Miller, staff writer

OCTOBER 2021 – As the holidays approach, so does a unique Bio-Med Science Academy tradition, fondly recognized by teachers and students as accelerated term. Unlike conventional schools, with electives offered throughout the year, Bio-Med offers all of its elective courses from Nov. 30 through Dec. 17. During this time, students and teachers receive a break from the regular curriculum and get a chance to explore their passions together.

Pictured above is a coloring book sold for Relay for Life fundraising during the 2019-2020 school year. Each page of the coloring book was made by a different student during accelerated term’s Coloring Books course. The course teaches students about mandalas and geometric constructions, leaving them with the skills necessary to create their own.

Courses that have been offered in the past range from Maps and Naps, The History of Pop Culture, Coloring Books, Survival by Science, “Star Wars,” and many others, leaving students with a satisfying creation at the end or a new skill that they otherwise would not have learned.

Students decide which courses they want to take by voting for a pool of courses to be offered. Students then choose their classes from this pool of selected courses; seniors get first pick on voting October 21st, and then the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen get to pick on the 22nd, in that order.

Maps and Naps, run by freshmen history teacher Mr. William Ullinger, is an accelerated term course that will be offered this year. Through this course, Ullinger said, “We challenged several high-end studies and went through those then tested the hypothesis.” His hypothesis was based on studies that stated that rest and mindfulness improved test scores.

“Technically, maps and naps is called geography and mindfulness studies,” said Ullinger. Students study maps and geography, and at the end of the course students are given the final test twice. Ullinger said that after taking the test, “We do a half an hour of mindfulness and we take the test over again.”

Along with studies, Ullinger also challenged students, proving what he could do for accelerated term. Ullinger recalled a conversation with students, where he said, “They go, ‘well could you figure out a way we could have a nap in class?’ and I go, ‘I’m sure I could.’”

This conversation ended up commencing the idea of Maps and Naps to become a course offered in years past during accelerated term.

Another class offered during accelerated term doubles as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, which is an organization that raises money for The American Cancer Society. This class is taught by Applied Algebra II teacher, Mrs. Christina Aronhalt. The class is known as Coloring Books, or by the more technical term, “geometric constructions using a compass, straightedge and tessellations.”

“I like intricate designs and I like coloring and it’s a relaxing way to release tension,” said Aronhalt. Coloring Books doubled as a fundraiser, and combined her “passions for math but also raising money for good causes.”

Like Coloring Books, Science Olympiad is also an accelerated term course that is an extension of a club. The club itself is for students interested in science who come together to eventually compete in STEM competitions with other schools pertaining to the field of science.

Accelerated term allows members valuable time to prepare for competition. “We get a lot done during accelerated term to prepare for our events,” said senior physics teacher Ms. Janna Mino, who is also head of Science Olympiad.

Sometimes accelerated term classes do not get voted for, like dance anatomy. “I have planned a lot of other classes. I wanted to do a dance anatomy class where we dance and learn about the muscular systems,” said Mino.

There are many aspects of accelerated term beyond just a change in classes. Oftentimes community is one aspect referenced when teachers talk about accelerated term.

“We need to build bridges between grades,” said Mr. Brian McDonald, freshman English teacher. “Anything we can do to build community is good.” Accelerated term can help to bridge grade levels by mixing them for different classes, but it can also be a bit of a challenge

“To be a junior teacher and to suddenly have ninth graders can kind of take you aback,” said junior English teacher Ms. Jenna Bates, “you have to kind of adjust the way you have been approaching things.”

The skill level of the class has to be attainable for the different grade levels, which is another way mixing the different grade levels can be difficult. Aronhalt said that “In choosing a class, I try to choose something that’s for all grade levels.” This can be tricky since everyone is at a different level academically.

Students can learn more about their community by learning about their teacher’s passions.  “They really learn more about who is teaching them,” said Ullinger. This can help students communicate easier with their teachers in the future if they can bond over shared passions.

“It’s cool getting to know students during accelerated term and having them in following years in class,” said Mino. This adds to that community-building aspect.

A lot of the time, this break in the year can act as a refresher.  “I’m so close to the stuff that we’re going through in [regular] class that by the time it’s accelerated term, I’m easily burnt out on it,” said Ullinger.

Teachers also spoke of something of an atmospheric shift during accelerated term.

“There’s something different about the atmosphere where there’s less pressure academically,” said Mino. “That atmosphere is more valuable than having the elective courses throughout the year.”

Although the atmosphere is unique and special, there’s a downside to not having elective courses throughout the year. “There’s a lot that gets untaught,” said Bates. “[Accelerated term is typically only two and a half weeks and so you can’t get very in-depth with that.”

“I think it would be really cool and get more depth if we could teach extracurriculars for a full year or even half a year,” said Aronhalt.

The atmospheric aspect ends up sacrificing the depth that a regular school system would offer in its elective courses.

“In a really good system, you offer little bits of something to students to see if they’re interested and if they’re really into it they can explore it,” said McDonald.

This idea explores a compromise of having that window into topics like accelerated term but also allowing students to explore these topics in depth like a regular elective course.

“I got a great suggestion from a kid this year,” said McDonald, when talking about future ideas for accelerated term. “The student said [that] the students should recommend classes to the teachers.” He believed that this would help the learning come from “the bottom up.”

Mino proposed another idea. “I think it’d be cool to have some seniors leading the class,” she said. This way there would be more student involvement.

“We kind of zig when regular schools zag,”  said Ullinger. Bio-Med’s accelerated term course is just another characteristic of that.


Who is Brice Schoenbaechler?

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

Brice Schoenbachler running at his Cross Country meet at Southeast Middle school. Photo provided by Brice Schoenbachler

October 2021 – Brice Schoenbaechler is a ninth-grade student who has played many sports over the years. His favorite sports are “anything that involves running.” He became interested in cross country during the COVID-19 pandemic and joined late into the season.

In total, he’s played seven sports, including cross country, track, soccer, wrestling, and golf. Though his family loves watching sports, what motivates him is being fit. One of his fastest times was 22 minutes and 9 seconds for a five-kilometer race.

Schoenbaechler is currently competing for Southeast’s Cross country team and has for the last three years. He commented on how much practice it would take to get on a team, saying, “Probably not a ton [of practice]. You have to be good, but you don’t have to dedicate your entire life to it.”

In addition to cross country, Schoenbaechler works out at home and runs every day to stay in shape. Though he loves cross and track, balancing school and sports has been difficult. “It’s not very fun— I miss half the practices, and sometimes I don’t get to go at all when [school ends] at 3:15.” He further explained how doing sports at another school can also be challenging. “It doesn’t affect it [school work] much. Unless I need to do work at night and I don’t get home until 9:30.”

After cross country season ends, he plans to do track and snowboarding in Bio-Med’s ski club. “I’m going to try snowboarding instead of skiing this year.” He said, stating how he wanted to try something new this year. Schoenbaechler also mentioned he might get back into wrestling. He wrestled for four years for the Southeast team.

Outside of school and sports, Schoenbaechler participates in Boy Scouts, hiking, and camping. He also loves to travel and hang out with friends and family. Schoenbaechler’s scout title is Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. He helps the Senior Patrol Leader plan activities and lead the troop. When Schoenbaechler goes on campouts with his troop, he enjoys messing around with friends and helping control the Cub Scouts.

Though he isn’t sure if he’ll continue sports after high school, he hopes to still do track and cross country. Hockey is also a strong possibility for him, as he finds new sports appealing. He’s excited to get into new sports and start a new season.


What is College Credit Plus?

by McKenna Burchett, associate editor

OCTOBER 2021 – College Credit Plus (CCP) is a program that allows students to earn college credits during high school. It was created in 2014 when Ohio combined dual enrollment and postsecondary plans, where students could earn college and/or high school credits in additional classes. Bio-Med Science Academy began offering dual enrollment and postsecondary plans during its first year of operation in 2012, then switched to CCP when it was created.

CCP is available to students in grades seven through 12. The first step to applying for CCP is to attend an informational meeting the prior year hosted by Ms. Stephanie Hammond, the guidance counselor for grades 10 through 12.

“I usually have [the meeting] anywhere between October and December,” she said. “That meeting contains all of the things students and families need to know about CCP before they sign up.”

The date for this meeting for the 2022-2023 school year has yet to be determined. Information for the event should be posted in the parent newsletter, emailed to students, and on Otus.

CCP runs on a different schedule than the average school year. A year for CCP goes through summer, fall, and spring.

“For example, this year would be summer 2021 through spring 2022,” Hammond explained.

Some College Credit Plus courses require textbooks, which are provided to students free of charge and can be picked up at the Counselor’s Corner. An email is sent to students informing them of any textbooks needed for a course. Students are responsible for returning these books at the end of the semester.

The next step is for students and parents to sign an “intent to participate” form that documents attendance at the meeting and which schools they would potentially attend.

Then, students must apply to a college through the institution.

“I sit down with students all the time. We walk through the application, we go to the different sites that we need, and look at what the next steps are. Some students are like ‘oh, I can fill this out on my own.’ Others we walk through it. It’s all totally fine,” Hammond commented.

Specifics regarding what courses a student should take can be worked out between the student and Hammond. To take summer courses, a student must directly reach out to the admission department of the college. Each course has prerequisites that must be completed before taking them.

She continued, saying, “Once they apply to the college, it depends on what courses they’re taking and how. So then they might go through the college for that, or through Bio-Med.”

CCP allows students to take 30 credits annually before they must pay on their own. Each high school credit translates to three of these credits. Students must check with their institution to see how many credits each college class is worth. CCP also counts towards a student’s total financial aid.

“If a student takes courses in high school and in college, they still have to do eight semesters; they aren’t going to get financial aid for eight semesters. They’re only going to get it for maybe seven,” Hammond said. “You get 180 credits worth of financial aid as a student. That was what they said at my last meeting though, [so] it could have changed.”

Bio-Med Science Academy has different degrees a student can earn. Some of the credits required are not offered at Bio-Med and must be taken with CCP. These courses include a history credit, foreign language credits (three in one language or two in two languages,) and possibly an additional science and math credit.

Hammond discussed the benefits of taking CCP. “The first benefit is that obviously, it’s free college…. If a student does CCP purposefully, they are taking time off what they’re doing in college because CCP impacts your financial aid in college,” she said. “So students could possibly graduate earlier and have less debt, as well as being exposed to that college environment in a more structured [high school] environment.”

Hammond also listed possible drawbacks. “You’re starting your college transcript. If we do really well in those classes, [then that is] wonderful, but if we don’t do well, those classes don’t go away.”

She recalled her own experience in college. “When I was a freshman, I had Cs because I wasn’t prepared, and I never dug out of that hole and ended up where I wanted to be. A single C, a single D, [or] a single F, will drop a student’s GPA and it doesn’t go away.”

Hammond continued, saying, “Another drawback is what happens when you aren’t purposeful with it. I’ve had students take a semester’s worth of work, but none of it applied to what they wanted to do, so they were out a semester’s worth of financial aid for college.”

Tessa Wood, a junior at Bio-Med, shared her experience with CCP. Wood began taking CCP courses the summer between her freshman and sophomore year.

“It worked really well because I didn’t have a lot going on that summer, but it became more difficult to complete once I started attending camps and being away from my computer over the summer,” she said.

Wood said the difficulty of each course depended on the professor and the content of the course.

“I took both Spanish I and II and thought they were pretty easy to complete since the assignments were consistent. When I took a class on web development, I struggled more. The professor worked with me and was amazing, but the shift in subjects left me unprepared.”

Bio-Med has a grading system that encourages students to go above and beyond. This made transitioning to a more traditional grading style difficult for Wood.

“At first I went above and beyond in my CCP classes, like writing an extra paragraph or responding to three students instead of two,” she said. “However, I realized that it was not at all necessary and began to do what the assignment outlined instead of what I thought was going above and beyond.” Wood still received an A in this class.

Sarah Bungard, another junior, disagreed, and commented that “Bio-Med’s learning style has made CCP classes seem easier because I’m used to doing extra work to get an exceeds mastery, which translates to an A. In a college class, simply meeting the requirements usually gets you a 100 percent.”

However, she had difficulties with the learning style.“It is a big adjustment from Bio-Med’s PBL to entirely lecture based-learning,” she said.

Hammond commented on the difficulties students experience in CCP.

“CCP is an added workload to what students are doing at Bio-Med. Some seventh-graders can handle the rigor, [and] some cannot. That is true for every grade level. Some students need to take college courses in college,” she said. “A lot of students build on the number of classes they take as they go through high school. It’s common for students to wait until sophomore year, then junior year add a course or two, and then [in] senior year, really jump into it due to their schedule.”

CCP is not for everyone, and any students considering taking CCP classes should reach out to Hammond. Those who are struggling with their current CCP courses should reach out to their professors or to Hammond for guidance.


A “Long” Climb to Teaching

by Aiden Hills, staff writer

Pictured is 10th-grade history teacher Kaitlyn Long playing with one of her dogs, a rescued six-year-old Pitbull named Plinko that she adopted from City Dogs in Cleveland Aug. 2020. She has only had her dog for one year and he was adopted at the age of five. The mission of City Dogs is to “reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals in the city of Cleveland.”

October 2021-Kaitlyn Long is the new 10th grade history teacher at Bio-Med Science Academy. She is a graduate of Wright State in Dayton, Ohio, with a bachelor’s degree in social studies, and a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Teaching in secondary education.

Going into college, Long always planned to become a teacher. However, her original path was music education for two and a half years. Later on, she thought music would be better as a hobby, so she transferred to Wright State University, where she got her bachelor’s degree and changed her major to social studies education.  

When Long was younger, she did not know what career she wanted to enter, but she knew that she wanted to help people. Taking an interest in physical therapy but quickly deciding that it was not something that she was passionate about, she decided to abandon it. In her junior year of high school, she found the spark that made her want to be a teacher, which sent her on a path to who she is now. Long found enjoyment in her band and formed a strong connection with her band director; however, her director lost his job due to the school board’s decision to cut the program. This event brought her to the realization of how important teachers were to a student’s life saying, “Through that whole process, I realized that this one person has made such an impact on me that I didn’t even realize until that person was no longer going to be someone I could look up to. They weren’t going to be there anymore. It was that moment I realized that education was something I was interested in because that one person can make an impact on someone.”

Long graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching in May 2021 at Kent State University. Kent State offers an accelerated 11-month program for Master of Arts in Teaching, which is the path that Long chose instead of a traditional two-year program. She started her program in April of 2020 and finished in 2021 and started teaching at Bio-Med within the same year in August.

Long’s way of teaching is based around her thoughts that history should be taught in an interactive way saying, “I think that my mantra is: if you don’t like history, it’s because the person that was sharing that information with you wasn’t making it exciting. I like to try to put relevancy into the information, so it has some sort of importance to you.” She wants to present her information in a different way, making it more interesting to learn about, pushing students to want to learn and retain the information.

She appreciates the freedom that Bio-Med gives to both her as a teacher, and the students who attend the school. Long attended schools with a more traditional curriculum and says that it was hard to break the mold, especially as a history teacher. Bio-Med introduces ways to help her “break out of that box” of teaching history, making it easier to push the students to want to learn the information as opposed to forcing them to learn the information.

Long still enjoys music, in middle school, her band director “strongly encouraged” her to join the high school marching band. In the marching band, she formed a connection with her director and her other teachers, because of how supportive they were. This caused her perspective to change regarding teaching, introducing her love of learning and wanting to share that with others.

Long enjoys backpacking and hiking when outside of school. She has travelled to West Virginia and, most recently during this summer, Washington for backpacking related trips. She said “There’s something to be said about how hard it is to climb and when you get to the top seeing everything pay off and all the sights you get to see there.”

Long climbed Mount St. Helens during the summer of 2021. With an average of (65) °F in the summer months, it makes for great climbing weather.

She believes that even in her short time at Bio-Med, she already feels accepted and like she belongs. “I wasn’t expecting how quickly my students would accept me as a new teacher. I thought it was going to take a lot longer to get comfortable. I already feel like I’ve been here for a while,” she said.

“[My] door is always open if anybody needs to talk about anything. That can be not school related, or if you just want to have a laugh.” 


Bio-Med Uncategorized

Translating Mastery To Colleges

by Mallory Butcher, staff writer

OCTOBER 2021 – Mastery learning has been a staple of Bio-Med Science Academy since the school’s opening in 2012. Although mastery learning was first proposed in 1968, most schools have not implemented it, and students have raised many concerns over the years about the system. One question asked by students is if the grading scale helps or harms them in the eyes of a college.

Bio-Med Science Academy alumnus Jared Butcher stood in front of the Kent State University Archway located outside of the College of Architecture And Environmental Design. He graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science in May of 2021.

A major goal for mastery learning has been to get students involved in their education. The system was designed to give opportunities to practice and gain knowledge in the curriculum. The idea was designed with flexibility for students in mind, allowing the individual to combine their strengths and weaknesses as they work through a course. A few states have even adopted mastery learning as their main education model, including Utah, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Ohio, however, has continued to support the traditional model of education.

“What’s hard with mastery schools is that each school defines mastery a little bit differently,” Bio-Med’s Guidance Counselor, Stephanie Hammond, explained. “Colleges understand what that means, but how that looks [from] school to school, they’re not going to know. So that’s where we have to have conversations with schools and talk with them about things [that Bio-Med does differently than a traditional school].”

Colleges are often notified of Bio-Med’s learning system in the form of a description in front of a student’s transcript detailing the school practices. Hammond recounted: “That school profile’s like a four-to five-page document that talks about Bio-Med specifically. What we do, how we do it, courses, what mastery looks like for us, PBL [Problem Based Learning], [and] all of those things.”

Bio-Med’s grading scale is one of the items included in the school’s description. The grades, in descending order, are: exceeds mastery, mastery, developing mastery, not yet mastered, and no evidence of mastery. Exceeds mastery is a grade that can only be earned if students go beyond the requirements of an assignment.

As far as Hammond knew, the idea for our grading system was unique to Bio-Med. When sent to colleges, students’ mastery grades get converted into the traditional A-B-C grading system on transcripts. Exceeds mastery was designed to make up for the school’s lack of weighted GPAs.

“In colleges, I know they kind of ask, ‘What do the different levels of mastery mean; what does that look like, with exceeds being that student that goes above and beyond?’” commented Hammond. “While no, you don’t have AP [Advanced Placement] and IB [International Baccalaureate], we do have CCP [College Credit Plus]…. We do have that exceeds mastery.”

Many students have assumed that mastery, a grade translated to a B on transcripts given when students fulfill the requirements for an assignment, would be an A at another school.

One of those students, Sophomore Mackenzie Thompson, described, “I think, because of how hard we’re pushed here, I think it [mastery] would translate to an A…. I believe we work a little bit harder than normal schools.”

According to Hammond, that answer is complicated. She said, “We know that Bio-Med is rigorous. We know that Bio-Med is difficult. Where it gets tricky is that a B at Bio-Med versus an A at Rootstown, what does that mean? We can say Bio-Med is harder, but in our school profile it doesn’t say a B here is an A at a traditional district.”

Using an uncommon grading scale, like the mastery system, in rural Ohio has forced Bio-Med to communicate with colleges. Although many have applauded their efforts, some students fear college GPA requirements might cause them to face rejections.

Senior Robert Greenwood noted, “What I’ve noticed with some colleges is that they require a certain GPA. The standard is like, 3.5. I’ve had to drag myself through these four years of high school. It’s been a struggle to maintain a three.”

Brian McDonald, Bio-Med’s freshman language arts teacher, disagreed with Greenwood’s concern. McDonald argued, “Students are, in general, over-worried about their grades. I think they should be much more worried about learning and developing the skills of a learner rather than, you know, ‘Will I have a 4.0?… Will I be top of the class? Will I get into this program?’”

Though the staff and students do not always agree on this topic, student concerns with their GPAs have not been ignored. Some solutions Hammond proposed were to focus on academic portfolios and orientation-day projects. Most ideas, however, she immediately rejected due to the time and labor investments.

Hammond concluded, “I also wish more schools would do interviews because I think [that with] a Bio-Med student, we have to take everything we do and turn it into a very traditional transcript, and a school profile is great, but it’s only a couple pages. How could you turn Bio-Med into a pamphlet? I know if you would all do interviews and get to talk about the things that you do here, [that is a] totally different story.”

Hammond noted that colleges are starting to understand how Bio-Med works. In 2019, Bio-Med’s Chief Administrative Officer, Stephanie Lammlein, and Hammond began traveling to colleges such as Hiram, the University of Toledo, Cleveland State, and Mount Union. While there, the two met with other schools to get feedback on sample mastery transcripts. The idea was to start with local colleges and expand outward, but COVID-19 canceled any remaining plans. As of now, they have yet to reschedule meetings with previously planned colleges, such as Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The Hive reached out to Kent State University’s Admissions and The University of Akron’s Office of the University Registrar for comment but received no response from either.


PBL-ementary School: Introducing STEM Concepts Early

by Alyssa Cocchiola, associate editor

OCTOBER 2021 — Bio-Med Science Academy soon plans to introduce STEM and problem-based learning concepts to elementary school students. This school year, Bio-Med admitted 25 kindergarten students and 50 first-grade students. Grades two through 12 have a maximum capacity of 100 students.

Pictured from left to right are students Elizabeth Wellman, Brody Hendrix, and Eli Holsopple exemplifying two of Bio-Med’s core pillars. They worked together and problem-solved to create a tower made of different colored blocks in the kindergarten classroom at the Shalersville campus. The Shalersville campus houses kindergarten through fourth-grade students.

Chief Administrative Officer, Mrs. Stephanie Lammlein, talked about the school’s decision to expand. “As the high school got underway and we started doing more research on other schools that are unique like [Bio-Med] around the country, we started to notice the importance of grabbing kids earlier than ninth grade,” she said.

In 2017, Bio-Med started its expansion by opening up to middle school students.

“Those middle schoolers went through sixth, seventh, and eighth [grade], and then they came to ninth [grade, where] they were in a different place than if a ninth-grader started fresh from their comprehensive district,” Lammlein noted. “They still struggled too, but they understood more about … how we go about learning and our methodologies. And so we started to notice a difference. I would anticipate that [difference] to only get bigger and stronger, which I’m really excited to see.”

The elementary school instituted the same vision and mission as the other Bio-Med campuses, which includes STEM learning and the school’s pillars: sense of community, problem solving, collaboration, innovation, personal agency, and engaged learning.

“As of right now in kindergarten, problem-based learning is learning guided by a wonder or question,” Ms. Brianna Belknap, the Bio-Med kindergarten teacher, explained. “For example, we recently have studied [a unit called] ‘How do we know if something is alive?’ We did a lot of observations outside and were able to identify what makes something living or not. We also were able to integrate this topic with our other content areas.”

Though students have been introduced to hands-on-learning activities, they still have yet to complete a large project.

“We have focused a lot on building our sense of community, strengthening our social emotional skills, and understanding how we should be at school. These foundational skills are our priority right now, but we hopefully will be moving into projects soon!” Belknap wrote.

Other elementary school grades have started to assign projects to students. Ms. Laura Sass, the STEM quality and curriculum administrator, regularly visits all three of the different buildings to work with students and teachers.

“I’m actually working with the second-grade teachers right now. They’re working into a unit looking at solar power, so [they are] trying to bring in some solar cookers and getting students to build the solar cookers. So that’s been fun, and [we’re] bringing outside groups to help with that. [In] the sixth grade, they’re looking at Ancient Greece and the Olympics, and they’re putting on a full grade level Olympics next week…. So a lot of really cool stuff,” she said.

Sass was also impressed by the professionalism students had in different classes.

“I watched a fifth-grade class discussion yesterday [and] even just how the communication was in that room…. I felt [it] was really strong for a fifth grade [classroom],” Sass explained. “And if they can do that at [a] fifth grade [level], imagine the other topics and discussions they could have in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade.”

For students at the Rootstown campus (grades seven through 12), the only way to learn a foreign language is through College Credit Plus (CCP) programs. However, at the Shalersville and Ravenna campuses (grades K through six), Latin is integrated in students’ core classes and taught by Mr. Aaron Graora. The school decided to implement Latin classes for the younger grades to teach students the root meaning of words, in order to strengthen their vocabulary.

On the administrative side of things, the expansion to elementary school grades had been a challenging process.

“The elementary [school] opened last year, and we all know how last year was…. So we started a brand new school in a pandemic, which I would not recommend. But, it was already too late. We were advertising [and] we enrolled kids. Then March happened, and it was like ‘okay,’ so then we made the decision to do everything we said we were going to do and just try to do the best we can,” said Lammlein.

Following the shut down in March 2020, Bio-Med still enrolled students from second through ninth grade for the 2020-2021 school year. While operating digitally at first, the incoming elementary school students were still able to experience the new building for part of the year. For some, the classroom seemed like a foreign environment.

“We have to really help the kids learn to be in school again because some of our learners have not been in school yet, because they chose virtual learning last year, and that might have been their first [year in school]…. So we have second-graders who may have never really been in school. We’re kind of taking this time to really help them understand our routines, our procedures, our expectations, [and] just to know them. I think the staff are doing an awesome job doing that.”

Despite the challenges, the school has continued to operate and introduce unique ways of learning to all its students. The administration hopes that the introduction of Bio-Med concepts to younger students will better prepare and guide them towards their futures.

The Hive attempted to reach out to several instructors at the Shalersville campus to be interviewed for this article. One staff member responded.

Bio-Med Uncategorized

Leader On and Off the Battlefield

by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

October 2021 — A number of seniors at Bio-Med Science Academy are undertaking more responsibilities, all while facing challenges in their academics and extracurriculars. Senior Zachary Kelly, who has stepped up to do more in his extracurriculars, has taken on a leadership role on the Bio-Med esports team.

Tenth-grader and esports player, Logan Cook, looked to Overwatch team captain, Zachary Kelly, for advice and guidance in the esports team’s match against Trumbull Career and Technical Center. Kelly assisted in setting up the new PCs in the newly created esports lab at Bio-Med and getting the team ready for their first match of the season.

After the departure of ninth-grade programming teacher Mr. Alex Wolfe, Mr. Aaron Ettinger, the eighth-grade English language arts teacher, took over as the esports team’s new adviser.

Kelly commented on this, saying, “I’m happy that Mr. Ettinger is taking a laid back approach so much so that he’s not being strict or anything like that [and] more letting the club be led by others.” This has allowed Kelly, along with juniors Aidan Veney, Tyler Willard, and sophomore Nathan Jimenez to step up and help lead the club.

Kelly’s role on the esports team is as captain of the Bio-Med Overwatch team and community manager for the club. His duties include communicating with the club adviser, Ettinger, managing the club’s Discord channel, and working with the club’s other competitive teams in different games. This season, Bio-Med’s esports teams chose to field three competitive teams. These teams compete in the games Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, and Overwatch.

This season Kelly, as he has for the past two years, will lead a team of seven students in competitive Overwatch gameplay. The team consists of students from grades ranging from ninth grade through twelfth grade. Kelly has learned a lot through his time in esports working with such a large variety of students. He has had to develop unique strategies to help connect with such a diverse group of students.

Kelly stressed the importance of “just still using maturity… being able to connect to [his team] using different pop culture ideas such as memes, hot topics, or video games in general,” to help connect with the team.

The Overwatch team started the season with a win in week two of competition against Trumbull Career & Technical Center Sept. 31, 2021. After the team’s swift three to zero victory, Kelly spoke about the team’s performance, proudly stating he liked “how much [they] work together. [They] had some good communication there.”

For the past two years, Kelly’s team has consistently missed league playoffs but he feels “confident with [their] winning ability and going into playoffs this year.”

Kelly has had to balance his work with the club and his responsibilities as a senior. Kelly, who doesn’t yet have a job, dedicates his free time to school, his senior internship, and practicing for the esports team. However, he doesn’t see esports as a burden but, “a break from school most of the time, so it allows [him] to have [his] safe place while paying.” For years, esports and playing video games have provided Kelly with the opportunity to express himself and has been a source of enjoyment and a needed break from school work.

Kelly’s time this year has been more limited since he is now interning at the Akron Aero Design Team. “I like airplanes,” said Kelly, citing them as an inspiration for future career endeavors. Kelly plans to study to become an aerospace engineer at The University of Akron, where he has hopeful plans to join its esports team, and continue playing Overwatch competitively, much like he has at Bio-Med.

With this being Kelly’s last year at Bio-Med, he is excited to pursue future endeavors, but after four years, he’s going to miss the time he has spent at Bio-Med. Thinking back on his time at Bio-Med, Kelly has had some stand out memories including: sophomore year being “kind of sleep deprived,” and teachers like Ms. Janna Mino, whose teaching skills and dedication to Bio- Med he appreciated. In this final year, Kelly’s motivation has been achieving a high grade point average (GPA), and finishing strong for his esports team. He plans to give it all he’s got to be a leader and an inspiration to a new generation of Bio-Med students and esports players.


Students Explore Their Passions and Hobbies at the Club Fair

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer 

OCTOBER 2021 – During the Bio-Med Science Academy 2021-2022 school year, 14 diverse clubs are being offered to students. Similar to previous years, they were on display at the club fair. There, students had the opportunity to meet members of each club and get a taste of what the club had to offer. Each club featured representatives showing off their accomplishments and expectations for new members. 

With clubs tackling social issues, practicing their writing skills, diving into the many areas of science, and making a difference in the community, there’s no shortage of unique experiences to be had by Bio-Med students. 

Science Olympiad

After missing last year’s event during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Science Olympiad club is excited to finally compete in its annual science-based competition this year against other schools. 

Every week on Wednesdays from 3:15 to 4:15 in Ms. Mino’s room (room 3009), the club members prepare accordingly for the events of their choice. The engineering/build events range from building miniature airplanes to ramps for model cars. Research and test-based events involve taking notes, diving into the specifics of an area of science, doing experiments, and more. 

Representatives from the club shared stories of past years and what they’ll be doing for this upcoming competition. 

 “Science Olympiad is great for feeding your love of science, but it’s also a great place to meet people,” said senior Daniel Zalamea, a fourth-year Science Olympiad member. “It gives you the opportunity to learn from older students who know more than you, but you also get to hang out with people of all different grade levels. Plus, if you’re really into a certain type of science, you can learn about it at your own pace without the pressure of being graded.”

Esports Club

During the club fair, the station that drew the attention of many students was the esports club. They featured a game called “Super Smash Bros: Ultimate” on a large screen, and many students took the opportunity to play. “Ultimate” is one of eight games available for this season of Esports of Ohio that students at Bio-Med are able to play competitively.

 Over the past decade, esports has grown to an enormous size across the country and the world, but the Bio-Med team recommends staying local.

 “We’re advising you to stick with [the] Ohio Esports League since it’s free. You don’t have to pay an actual fee to join,” Aidan Veney, one of the 11 returning members of the esports club, said.  “We’ll work with you on teamwork. A lot of it is just being with friends.” 

With around 20 members in the club, and eight games to choose from, students can build a community while gaming. Meetings are every other Friday after school, supervised by Mr. Ettinger in room 301. 

(For the 2021-2022 school year, esports will offer the following titles: “Valorant,” “Fortnite,” “Super Smash Bros: Ultimate,” “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone,” “Rocket League,” and “Smite.”)

Chess & Games Club

The Chess and Games club provides students with a laid back and social club experience. This fits the club’s more quiet station at the fair, where students could participate in brief games of chess.

“Basically it’s just a club with a variety of games,” said Sophomore Cooper Lappe. “I mean the main [game is] chess but, we got Connect Four, Monopoly, [and] all that kind of stuff.” 

The environment of the Chess and Games club welcomes students who desire a less competitive experience. “[It’s not like] if you miss a day then it’s pretty bad. You can just kinda come up whenever you want, but it’s encouraged that you be there every day,” Lappe continued. “It’s after school [on] Wednesday and yeah it’s just really chill and fun.” 

Chess & Games club is supervised by Mr. McDonald and meets in room 307.

Student Council

Student Council enables students to play a more significant role in their school, or have a say in special events. The council is responsible for organizing spirit weeks, school events, fundraisers, and planning dances such as homecoming and prom. 

The goal of the council is to “create a sense of community,”  according to Student Council supervisor Ms. Diane Brook. 

The role each member has in the decision making process depends on the position they hold. “We have eight official positions,” said Brook.

Four of those eight members are officers, while the other four are representatives. Ms. Shana Varner, the other student council supervisor, clarified that “to be a representative or an officer you have to serve on the student council for at least one year and then you run for a position at the end of the school year for the following year.”

All other students on the council are known as “general members.” To become a general member, students are required to fill out an application. In the past, Student Council was only offered for high school students, but the club recently changed who was able to apply.

 “We also have a seventh- and eighth-grade student council and this will be the first year that Ms. Brook and I will be leading that. But we’ll be leading that with the help of our representatives and our officers,” explained Varner. “It’s more or less just to give the students a voice and for them to gain leadership experience.” 

Student council meets weekly on Mondays after school from 3:15 to 4:15 in room 419. 

The following clubs are also offered at Bio-Med:

9th-12th Grade

HOSA (Mondays, 3:15-4:15 room 413)

Robotics (Thursday after school, Tuesday and Thursday during advisory, room 303)

Feminist Club (Wednesdays, 3:15-4:00, Room 405)

NHS (Tuesdays, twice a month, 3:20-4:45 room 407)

All Grades

YSU Book Club & NaNoWriMo (Every other Friday, advisory, room 406)

Skills USA (Lunch A on Mondays)

Science Olympiad (Wednesdays, 3:15-4:15, room 3009)

Cyberpatriots (Wednesdays, 3:15-415)

Chess/Games Club (Wednesdays, 3:15-4:15, room 307)

FFA (Every other Tuesday, Lunch B, in Ms. Brook’s room)

Esports (Friday, 3:15-4:00, room 3015)

Relay For Life (Every other Tuesday 11:35-12:49, room 421)

Student Council (Mondays, 3:15-4:15, room 419)

Bio-Med Uncategorized

Students’ Anxiety: The Grades or the Stigma

by Avery Livezey, staff writer

OCTOBER 2021 – The emphasis today’s society puts on grades has a psychological impact on students. In the last few decades, the expectation for students changed from the expectation of earning passing grades to earning excellent grades, followed by securing a college education. Receiving a C on the grading scale is supposed to be average, but students are told that an A should be their standard. Bio-Med Science Academy’s goal is to eliminate grades in the future.

Tenth-grader, Lucy Molnar, sat in the commons, stressed over her latest homework assignment. Photo by Avery Livezey, staff writer

“Society, as a whole, seems to focus on perfection,” said Mr. William Ullinger, the ninth-grade social studies teacher. “Striving for perfection can be detrimental to [students’] mental health because it’s an impossible goal.”

Ullinger said, “Anxiety will fade from school if you are able to talk about what’s wrong and effectively find how to do better.” 

Some students often think about asking for help as confrontation and would rather fail than get the help they need, and prolonging the issue just makes students more anxious. Twenty percent of high school students have mental health poor enough to impair their daily activities, according to the National Center for Mental Health Checkups.

Dr. Lisa Testa, the President of Bio-Med’s Governing Board and associate professor in Kent State University’s Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Studies department, believes that students could benefit from ungraded feedback, allowing them to improve without as much pressure. She also believes an ungraded environment would help free students from some of their paralysis. “Students tend not to take risks because they’re afraid of failing. Learning is feeling like you can take risks, and without failures we don’t learn as much,” said Testa.

Bio-Med uses a mastery grading system, which does not follow a traditional grading scale. Mrs. Emily Lee, the school counselor for grades seven through nine, believes the mastery scale provides students with the ability to put a focus on their learning rather than worry about pass/fail grades. With mastery, students work towards mastering a skill and can often be given multiple chances to do so. Students are given expectations for assignments and based on how many of those expectations the students meet, they score either a “no evidence of mastery,” “not yet mastered,” “developing mastery,” “mastery,” or “exceeds mastery.”

Teachers at Bio-Med have encouraged students to shift their focus from grades to mastering the skill.

Mrs. Whitney Mihalik, the 11th grade social studies teacher, found it interesting that at Bio-Med, a place that works to not prioritize grades, students seem to focus more on them. She continued, saying that the anxiety from grades at Bio-Med is a “student-created issue that teachers struggle to stop.” 

Mihalik recommended students learn how to “partner up with their anxiety.” She elaborated on this by stating that “They need to manage [their anxiety]. They’ll always have it. Learning how to manage things like anxiety over grades can be the make or break for some students. The prioritization of grades shouldn’t be an issue as long as mental health is also a prioritization.”

Some students come to Bio-Med to challenge themselves further academically. Students transitioning from traditional education often try to fit their mastery grades into traditional letter grades in an attempt to understand them.

While the mastery scale continues evolving away from the traditional grading system, some students find the rapid changes to be overwhelming. Gabby Giovinazzo, a seventh grader, explained,“I was a little freaked out by the new grading scale and getting used to it over the years because the grades themselves kept changing names.” 

Giovinazzo has also struggled with handling the anxiety attached to grades. “When adults try to talk about anxiety, they talk about it in a way that’s easier said than done,” she said. “They say not to be anxious because it’s normal, but they don’t help fix the issue.”

Giovinazzo also shared that a good amount of the anxiety resulted from embarrassment, or fear of it.

“There’s even more pressure when your grades are made public if you aren’t doing well,” she said. “For example, if there is a group assignment and people won’t work with you because they know you’re struggling or during a group assignment and other people in your group won’t let you do any of the work. They won’t even let you try, and it’s embarrassing.”

She explained that teachers’ attempt to help students by giving them time to work one on one with them while others do activities. However, sometimes the conferences with teachers can make students feel anxious, due to their peers seeing them being pulled out. She believes that teachers’ attempts to help add to the embarrassment and pressure students feel.

Students need to take their anxiety and struggles, into their own hands. If students are struggling with anxiety they should reach out to their teachers or one of the school counselors, Mrs. Lee and Miss Hammond. You can reach the school counselors via their school emails: elee@bmsastem.org and shammond@bmsastem.org