By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Editor | Published September 17, 2020
ATLANTA—Students at St. Jude the Apostle School are making use of the school’s new STREAM lab. The lab’s opening was made possible by the school’s 2020 auction fundraiser, held in February.
STREAM is an initiative that combines science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics, helping students to link the Catholic faith to other subject matters.
Principal Patti Childs said the renovated space was once her office, and then foreign language rooms before being adapted over the summer to become a STREAM lab.
“We’ve had a couple of classes go in already,” said Childs.
Kindergarten and eighth grade students have already participated in hands-on experiments or activities in the lab, which is adjacent to a greenhouse. A sliding glass door connects the two learning spaces.
Elizabeth Bierly, in her ninth year at St. Jude the Apostle, is lead teacher for the new lab and is conducting some lessons in the individual classrooms, due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“She’s taking the programs on the road,” said Childs.
This year’s auction, organized by two school moms, was scheduled earlier than usual and able to be held just weeks before coronavirus cases spiked in Georgia.
“We’ve never had it that early,” said Childs about the auction date working out. “Who knew? We had a wonderful event.”
The fundraiser netted $170,000 for the STREAM lab renovation and equipment.
NCEA, the National Catholic Educational Association, helps Catholic educators to jumpstart the curriculum initiatives and Childs has taken staff members to participate in some of their programming.
“We’ve been STREAM-ing for several years,” she said.
A couple times a year, the school will have STREAM nights where parents can join their children in activities such as a transportation project or a water regatta.
These evenings, said Childs, help “build the enthusiasm” among the students and their families.
The archdiocese’s curriculum, when launched in 2015, was rooted in the Next Generation Science Standards, a joint project of the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for Advancement of Science and the organization, Achieve.
The standards are based on work completed by the National Research Council and presented in “A Framework for K-12 Science.”
The science standards for schools in the archdiocese meet national and state standards but were also enriched further with a strong Catholic identity.
The new lab is named for Childs.