ASCS Opens New Innovation Lab and PreK3-8th grade STEAM Curriculum
On Thursday, September 12, All Saints Catholic School (ASCS) celebrated the Grand Opening of their new Kent and Jodi Foster Innovation Lab and enhanced STEAM Curriculum. In attendance were leaders from Catholic schools, including Bishop Lynch, Christ the King, Jesuit, John Paul II, and St. Josephs, in addition to representatives from the Catholic dioceses of Dallas, and members of the ASCS community. The event began in the chapel with a prayer and a few words from the school leadership on the decision to implement the PreK3-8thGrade STEAM curriculum twice a week in this renovated space. Druffner, the school’s principal stated, “We wanted our students to take learning outside of the classroom and into the real world. We wanted to create a place in a learning environment that the kids can acquire the 21stcentury skills of coding, robotics, graphic design… and we wanted to make a state of the art facility, where they can grow learn and experiment.”
With a generous donation from Kent and Jodi Foster, the school was able to do so by hiring the team of Q&M Consulting to oversee the renovation of the space for the Innovation Lab and the incorporation of an enhanced STEAM curriculum. At the conclusion of the remarks, guests made their way to the dramatic entrance of the lab, adorned with lighted signage and a 3D art installation of circuitry, gears, and binary code. Father Alfonse Nazzaro, parish priest and school president, blessed the new lab, then he, Kent, and Jodi Foster marked the occasion with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Student ambassadors quickly took to the various stations of the room, demonstrating to the guests the new computer programs that were being incorporated into their lessons and showing off some of the equipment that they would be using in their course, such as merge cubes, 3D printers, and Mbots. Student Julia Jenson remarked, “This STEAM lab means more time learning things that I really enjoy and even things I had never heard of. So many jobs that I could see myself in, when I get older, require STEAM skills, and I am just really happy that I have three more years here with this lab.”
The lab is equipped with state of the art equipment and a designated Director. With this heightened STEAM experience for students, even the three year olds will attend two classes a week with lessons focused on coding, color theory, computer skills and introductions to the design process. As the students progress, the curriculum will incorporate graphic design, project management, 3D printing, and robotics. Additionally, this space promotes extracurricular STEAM learning, with clubs and family programming to make this a community wide initiative that promotes cross curricular learning. Nazzaro commented, “That STEAM lab that is in the center of our school, truly brings all disciplines together. It brings in the theology and the philosophy of the human person; it brings in science and mathematics; it brings in art; it brings everything.”