Over the last few years, St. Mary Chardon has been working to find a balance between pushing forward with innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education practices while keeping alive the spirit of religion and service that distinguishes Catholic Schools. This year, St. Mary Chardon was named an Ohio Department of Education STEM Designated school. One of only 44 in the state, which helps to prove that the school has been able to meet the STEM challenge! How about the rest?
In our technology driven age, many go through days staring at computer screens and smartphones more than interacting with others. The new push to provide STEM education to students to ready them for the jobs of the future often reinforces being plugged in to technology as well. What a challenge to educators and leaders of all schools, but especially the Catholic schools who are based in interaction and service to others.
Finding balance takes on many different looks at St. Mary Chardon. The school has been in session for under one month, but has already laid the groundwork for combining service and STEM together for the year. The staff, students and STEM community business partners came together to celebrate opening Mass and share information about projects for the upcoming year. Principal Mary Petelin was presented the Ohio Department of Education banner by pastor, Father Redmond surrounded by students who paused for a moment of the day to celebrate the school’s accomplishment but also to pray that the school continue forward and use this year’s STEM learning for the good of all.
Fifth grade teacher, Jenny Rodriguez shared a personal note with teachers and staff at the start of the year, with a challenge. She said “Cog by definition, is a tooth on a wheel or gear. (Miriam-Webster Dictionary). The cog when interacting with all the other cogs keeps the bike, the clock, the engine, the device moving. Each relies on the other to set the machine in motion. If the cog breaks or becomes damaged, the results will affect all the parts. Because each of us is created for a purpose, the fine machine of the universe cannot keep moving forward and running without each of the cogs in place. We have a special purpose, all of us, we fit right where we are and we have a responsibility to honor God and ourselves by spreading joy and light everywhere we go. If your cog is tarnished, bent, or broken those around you will be affected, because you are a Child of God (cog) and your life is as valuable to God as everyone else’s.”
Taking this thought to heart, the staff is working to spread the theme of collaboration to the students. The 2nd and 5th grade prayer partners recently worked together during Genius Hour to decide on a topic they want to study and to formulate a question that will guide them for their time together. Coming together to mentor each other throughout the year, the 5th graders will try to learn to serve as leaders and the 2nd graders will learn to work in groups. Continuing this theme, The 4th and 5th graders have also begun drawing a working model that will allow 40 gears to all move together at the same time. The students were placed in groups of 5 and had to list their materials, what they know about gears and begin the design process. They will continue on by putting together the collaborative ideas to build a working prototype. This year all the students of the school will be working together to build a greenhouse that is made of recycled materials, is eco-friendly and can supplement the school’s lunch offerings.
Throughout the school, the students continue to investigate STEM, while working together collaboratively across grades, ages and levels all while keeping a greater good in mind. St. Mary Chardon continues to strive to be cutting edge while keeping heart in their mission. Watch for news to come about their efforts!
About St. Mary School
St. Mary’s School Chardon is a Catholic School for grades preschool through 8 where students are encouraged to develop academically in an environment of faith, with a vision for the future. For information visit our website St. Mary School Chardon or Contact Maureen Intihar at: [email protected] or Phone: 440-286-3590
Pictured In Cover Photo: Principal Mary Petelin and Pastor Fr. Dan Redmond unveil the school’s new STEM banner.