STREAM Enhances Instructional Approach to Learning

The start of the school year this September began with a significant expansion to St. John’s STREAM program.  A broadening of STEM learning—which intentionally incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math across the curriculum—STREAM uniquely includes the Arts and Religion into its repertoire.  SJS Sream Program“As a Catholic school, our mission is to education the whole child—mind, body, and spirit,” states Vice-Principal Linda Garrity.  “This STREAM initiative allows us to continue to raise the bar, allowing our St. John’s graduates to distinguish themselves and outperform their peers with this enhanced approach to learning.”  In 2014, phase one of STREAM was launched with STREAM Academies—after-school enrichment sessions such as Robotics and Kitchen Chemistry.  This next phase of the STREAM roll-out will impact learning at all levels. 
A significant expansion of STREAM has commenced as the school completely immerses itself across curriculum and departments into an innovative, instructional model.  “STREAM education really speaks to best practices for both educators and students,” according to the school’s STREAM coordinator, Mary Makar.  “We will place a larger emphasis on teaching 21st century skills like creative and critical thinking.  Students and parents could expect more project based learning occurring right in the classrooms.  STREAM is not new curriculum, but rather a new mindset of teaching our children!”
The school has committed to this program as evidenced by the significant acquisition of science equipment and technology.  “We’re seeking opportunities for purposeful technology integration,” says Makar.  “The goal is not to just use technology for the sake of using it, but to integrate it as a tool to enhance learning.  When our 6th graders are studying ancient Egypt, they will be able to perhaps take a virtual tour within the Pyramids at Giza or view excavation projects in real-time.”  Comprehensive science kits have been acquired to include all grade levels to promote hands-on, problem based learning.  These kits complement the ProbeWare science equipment and other upgrades that were acquired through our 2014 Annual Appeal. 
“My role as STREAM coordinator is to act as a liaison between St. John’s and the greater community, including the education department at the Diocese and other Catholic schools within WNY who are also coming on board,” explains Makar.  “From supporting our teachers as they learn to incorporate this project based learning into the classroom to overseeing the best use of grant funds for this program, I’ll be facilitating the transition.  My colleagues and I have attended in-service training throughout the summer to be ready for the new school year.  We are so looking forward to sharing this with our students!”