This May, St. Mary School Chardon became the first Ohio Department of Education STEM Designated School in Geauga County and one of only 44 in the state. The state recognized the school to be continually working toward integrating STEM ideals into teaching across all disciplines and striving to teach students new ways to approach learning. Last year the school gained top honors in a variety of ways including being recognized as a Cleveland Clinic Banner School, a Thomas Edison STEM school of excellence for the third consecutive year, earning grants from the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center and and sending five students to the State Science Fair at The Ohio State University to name a few.
Recently the school’s STEM Board members convened to discuss new ways the school can continue to grow and embrace STEM learning. Board members represent professionals and businesses in the community from a variety of disciplines including the fields of medicine, technology, architecture and design, engineering, and teaching and learning.
St. Mary Chardon teachers shared new program discoveries they will be bringing back to the students this year from the Ohio STEM Convene and the Cleveland Catholic Diocese Initiatives. The school is looking forward to competing in the Xtreme Games held in March which will pit St. Mary students against other local Catholic Schools in STEM related games. The most exciting new project by far is a Greenhouse Design Challenge that was student initiated. Students have initiated the idea of growing their own vegetables at the school to be used for a salad bar during lunch periods. This amazing new project has backing from both The Ohio Catholic Credit Union and received the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center’s Alstein Award and Grant. In addition, 6th grade teacher, Julie Fedak has been asked to be a part of the curriculum board at CVEEC.
The Greenhouse Design Challenge has started with collection of plastic two liter bottles which will be used for the construction of the structure. The students have begun research on the use of rain runoff to irrigate plants and will work with the city to gain permits and zoning approval. The school will look to it’s current partnerships to help facilitate this project for the remainder of the year.
The school and board members are working hard to brain storm other ways the students can learn more about STEM careers and utilize their partnerships at a high level. Partners will be invited to the annual Career Fair and are opening their doors for students to shadow in their workplaces. The school is investigating expansion of their lab spaces to have a larger area for a Makerspace where students can store on-going projects and work on them as time permits throughout the day. With so many ventures taking place at one time across the entire school, the lab is overflowing with rollercoasters, Science Fair boards, and other projects.
Watch for new projects to be unfolding and for news to come as the year progresses and the school, students and board work to continue expansion of STEM throughout the school.
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 more information visit their website St. Mary School Chardon or contact Maureen Intihar at [email protected] or by phone at 440-286-3590.
Pictured In Cover Photo: 7th grade teacher, Sarah Allin displays 2 liter bottles in a discussion about the school’s Greenhouse project