There’s been a dramatic increase in interest from Catholic
Schools in STEM/STEAM programs. A major reason is the growing importance of offering
robust STEM/STEAM programs in all schools of choice. Today’s parents expect
technology and next-generation learning to be part of any quality education.
Paul Hans, Principal of SmartLab partner school Roncalli
Catholic High School in Omaha Nebraska told us, “If a Catholic school wants to
compete with other public and private schools they need to stay relevant”. He
continued, “It’s more imperative than ever to give families what they want…that
means innovative programs like STEAM centers.”
This new emphasis on STEM/STEAM is also supported by the
National Catholic Education Association. NCEA is now in the second year of its
STREAM initiative. STREAM stands for science, technology, religion,
engineering, art and mathematics. Among NCEA’s “10
Characteristics of a STREAM School” are:
- STREAM schools promote a culture of
innovation as well as a commitment to ethical behavior.
- STREAM schools are inclusive. They serve
a broad population and operate on the dual premises that math and science
competencies can be developed and that all students need access to STREAM
competencies to become full participants in 21st Century
- STREAM schools foster an environment that
encourages problem solving, group collaboration, and independent research
by utilizing instructional practices and organizational conditions
conducive to student achievement.
- STREAM schools are “think forward”
institutions and place high priority on educator training, learning,
leadership, and 21st Century skill applications.
Creative Learning Systems has partnered with Catholic
schools across the country and at all grade levels to implement next-generation
STEM/STEAM programs for their students.
SmartLab programs are unique in their approach to promoting
these characteristics. In a SmartLab,
students apply leading-edge technology to hands-on, minds-on projects.
Personalized learning engages students of all interests and abilities.
Collaboration, communication, problem-solving and innovation happen every day.
Principal Hans shared that Catholic schools from all over
the state have visited Roncalli High School to see how the SmartLab program
supports their academic goals. “When we meet with them, we don’t focus on the
products students create but the processes and skills that all learners need to practice to be successful after high school.
Academics and GPA may get our students in the door, but what will keep them
here is their capacity for problem-solving, communication, work ethic, and