Gesu School moves full STREAM ahead
Thanks to leadership donations totaling more than $1.1 million, generously given by John and Mary Jane Breen; Kathleen Breen; Robert and Heidi Heltzel; Gerald and Helen McDonough; June McGinty, of the McGinty Family Foundation; and the Conway Family Foundation, Gesu Catholic School is introducing an innovative program, called Gesu STREAM, into its curriculum.
"The goal of Gesu STREAM is to prepare students for a 21st-century world with a focus on science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math," said Lucy Iemmolo, principal of Gesu Catholic School.
Gesu joins a handful of area Catholic elementary schools that are implementing STREAM, a relatively new concept supported by the National Catholic Educational Association. Because of this program, students at the school are engaged at an earlier age in areas such as robotics, architecture, space exploration and technical design.
Marjorie Gessner has been named the full-time STREAM coordinator. She will be working with faculty and students to develop curriculum standards and methods for developing interdisciplinary units and activities. Gessner’s goal is to help teachers collaborate across content areas and enable students to make more meaningful connections in their learning. She will be facilitating the integration of STREAM activities into everyday lessons.
“Gesu has a strong academic history,” said Gessner. “Students will have project-based learning that allows them to focus on goal setting, critical thinking and problem solving.” The core of the educational experience remains consistently based on values and a faith foundation.
With donated funds, the school has already completed construction and renovation of the current second floor science room into a more versatile instructional space for experiments and projects. The next phase of construction is scheduled to begin in October and will be the north side of the school building, currently the Religious Education Center.
The three-story space will be designed to enhance classroom learning in science, technology, religion, engineering, art and mathematics, all dedicated to the Gesu STREAM initiative. The chapel will also be updated for students and staff to use as a reflective prayer space. When completed, the wing will be known as The Breen Family Educational Center for STREAM Learning.
“The goal of STREAM is to encourage an inquiry-based environment and effectively integrate more hands-on learning experiences into the curriculum. All areas of the curriculum will be reviewed, including extracurricular clubs and programs. This initiative is to challenge our students’ minds and equip them with the tools they can use in a world of ever-changing competitiveness, grounded in a strong Catholic faith [that is] an integral part of our learning and daily lives,” said Iemmolo.
For more information about Gesu Catholic School and the Gesu STREAM program, contact the school office at 216-932-0620.
Mary Kate Farrar
Mary Kate Farrar, a former resident of University Heights, is development director for Gesu school and parish.