Lincroft school introduces new STEAM Wing
Students and teachers in St. Leo the Great School are using a newly renovated, state-of-the-art STEAM wing, not the type powered by water vapor, but instead a curriculum which highlights the latest in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics in an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.
By Christina Leslie | Correspondent
Through the “Classrooms of Tomorrow” campaign, the Lincroft Catholic school aims to develop students’ skills in areas such as problem solving, communication, data analysis, critical thinking and creativity. The wing provides laboratories and classrooms equipped to teach students to think independently and draw upon their own creative talents to solve problems through hands-on activities, creative thinking and collaboration.
“St. Leo the Great School has always prided itself on successfully preparing its students for their future academic endeavors through challenging and demanding curriculum,” said Cornelius Begley, principal. “By creating our new STEAM laboratories and classrooms, we can better provide our students the competitive edge they will need when applying to top high schools, as well as better develop the building blocks needed for a strong foundation for future academic and career paths.”
Begley noted the 2018 Blue Ribbon School has been employing the cross-curricular model for the past few years, “but we can use [the wing] to continue to enhance the projects. Things are interconnected now so students don’t miss the opportunities.”
The “Classroom of Tomorrow Campaign” began last January at the annual PTA Gala, Begley reported, and most of the construction was done over the summer “so it wouldn’t disrupt the students’ learning,” he said. “Our goal was to be functional by the start of school.”
The science laboratory, complete with futuristic furniture designs, is outfitted with the latest equipment. The computer lab was redesigned as a technology lab where students can apply engineering solutions to technological problems. The former science and math classrooms now integrate those subjects into what is occurring elsewhere in the school. An added science prep room provides faculty efficient space to stage experiments into the STEAM curriculum.
“The entire school uses this wing,” Begley said. “Subjects are interconnected now so students don’t miss opportunities, but classes can also be stand alone, for instance, during testing. It’s not ‘this is my [subject], that is your world.’”
Changes to the physical environment prompted other adjustments at the school, Begley observed.
“Additional staff was added, and schedules were changed,” the principal said. “It’s not just a cool building. Faculty and staff have to buy into the idea, and have the skill set to show the connectedness between subjects.”
Despite all the high-tech bells and whistles, Begley noted, the fundamentals never go out of style.
“We still have to teach the students math and show how a calculator works,” he said.