A soon-to-be renovated space at St. Laurentius School in Fishtown will be used to continue the school’s commitment to the arts and sciences.
Expected to be completed sometime during the upcoming school year, two classrooms at the school will be converted into a brand-new STEM lab available for use by students in pre-K through eighth grade. The lab will feature SMART Boards, Chromebook and iPad carts, a 3-D printer and many other pieces of technology.
Kelly Bell, the principal of St. Laurentius, said that the lab is going to be utilized for a wide array of projects that will help both introduce younger students to STEM-related subjects and further develop their interests in those topics as they get older.
“The idea was born years ago, so it’s exciting that it’s coming to fruition now,” Bell said. “We have worked very hard this summer to try to get it in order for the start of the school year.”
Recognized by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as one of the 65 area schools of distinct instruction in 2021, St. Laurentius has placed a strong emphasis on integrating science, technology, engineering and math into its curriculum. Aside from the lab, the school has developed many other enrichment activities as part of that focus. That includes a cooking program with the Vetri Community Partnership, yoga classes, a gaming club and a robotics club.
Although St. Laurentius has been infusing STEM into many of its classes, including English and religion, for years, Bell believes the new lab will play a huge role in the school’s interest in going above and beyond that.
“I think now we’re trying to package it more as a vision moving forward,” Bell said. “When we look at the profile of a graduate, what types of students do we want to be sending out to high schools in the area? I think the STEM lab has helped us kind of create a specified space in the building where students can come and do these types of projects.”
Bell hopes that the lab, along with all STEM programs at the school, help to achieve the ultimate aim.
“Our goal is really to build citizens that are going to be using STEM to better the community and to better the world,” Bell said.