St. Mary School Swormville Receives STREAM Grant
A new science lab, STREAM Academies and expanded technology are coming to St. Mary School Swormville (www.stmaryschoolswormville.org) thanks to a generous $23,700 grant from an anonymous donor.
According to Joseph Roaldi, assistant principal, St. Mary School, this generous gift will allow St. Mary's to become a leader in STREAM education. "Our goal is to create a unique learning community where students engage in project and problem-based activities to develop vital, age-appropriate skills such as critical thinking."
STREAM is the Catholic response to the national STEM movement (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and adds religion and art to a holistic educational approach. It is a comprehensive learning approach that exposes students to relevant, hands-on studies in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics all in the context of the religious nature and identity of a Catholic school.
In January of this year, after learning that St. Mary School would remain open, Sister Sheila Anne Burke OSF, principal, her staff and parent volunteers worked together to secure the grant. With Sister Sheila's unexpected passing on June 2, 2014, she was not able to hear for herself that the school's application had been approved for the grant on June 22, 2014.
"Sister Sheila would have been extremely proud to learn of the award. In true Sister Sheila fashion, it is a legacy she has left for current and future students to become the very best they can be," Roaldi said.
In April 2014, the school was also awarded a $250 donation from Moog, Inc. to put toward such an endeavor. In May 2014, the Diocese of Buffalo selected St. Mary's as a STREAM pilot school.
"We are so grateful that our school's success has been recognized and we are now able to broaden this exciting program," Roaldi said. "STREAM fosters the connection between what is taught in the classroom and how students apply this information in the real world." Roaldi said. "Our students will be better problem solvers and better prepared for high school and beyond."
A current classroom will be converted into an expanded science lab. Grant funds will be used to purchase microscopes, slides, equipment for essential experiments, virtual dissection kits, lab tables, robotics equipment, iPads, software, digital cameras and art supplies.
In addition to classroom enhancements, STREAM Academies will be introduced for the 2014-15 school year. Robotics, PEAP (primary grade engineering), Future City Engineering and ARCADE Academy (designing and building video game) are several after-school STREAM clubs that will be offered for all grade levels.
Katie Bishop, Grade 4 teacher, is St. Mary's STREAM coordinator. For more information about St. Mary's School, visit www.stmaryschoolswormville.org.