One of the highlights of Stepinac’s new school year will be the new active learning centers that were designed to take the school’s pioneering personalized blended learning program to the next level. Modeled after Columbia University’s classroom, the new state-of-the-art learning environment will continue Stepinac’s mission to prepare students for post-secondary success in a globally competitive world.
The two non-traditional, 21st century learning spaces significantly enhance the students’ learning experience and help improve academic performance by heightening interactivity between the student and instructor and between students themselves when they collaborate in problem-solving assignments.
The learning centers are equipped with numerous touch-interactive displays, high-performance front-facing speakers, and numerous inputs for all video formats as well as a built-in browser, white boarding and wireless sharing without requiring a computer.
The new software unleashes the full potential of media-rich lesson planning. The new technology will also allow real-time access to subject matter experts and lecturers located around the world, brought live into the classroom via a state-of-the-art video conferencing capability. (This feature will also be used for students who are absent or on extended medical league).
Finally, all rooms will be equipped with premier Steelcase furniture that will allow students to collaborate better, concentrate better, experiment better and learn better.
In a related development, Stepinac recently won the prestigious Fordham University Graduate School of Education’s Catholic School Executive Leadership Award in recognition of its Outstanding STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) interdisciplinary approach to learning. The STEAM curriculum provide opportunities for all students and teachers to collaborate and engage in innovative ways through project-based learning.
Frank Portanova, Vice Principal for Academics and Curriculum, said: “Stepinac has long been a practitioner of STEAM which encourages students to think more broadly about real-world problems and to equip them with the critical thinking and problem-solving skill sets they will need to succeed in college and in their future careers,” adding: “The Fordham University honor continues Stepinac’s tradition of being recognized by renowned educational institutions as a standard bearer of curriculum innovation.”
Among Stepinac’s groundbreaking developments is the Honors Academy, the first-of-its-kind-in-the-region small, three-year personalized learning program that provides academically top performing students with opportunities to pursue advanced studies in engineering, health sciences, economics and finance and law—leading to potential careers in those disciplines.
Like their predecessors, the latest group of Academy students will also collaborate in developing and participating in a Symposium that addresses a real-world issue and present potential solutions which will be reviewed by a panel of experts before a live audience.
For the inaugural Symposium a year ago, students tackled the unresolved Flint contaminated drinking water crisis. As part of their research, they found that more than 21,000 older homes in Westchester were potentially at risk as they had been built with lead piping for drinking water and recommended a municipal bond solution for paying to replace the lead pipes. The relevance of the students’ study resonates more disturbingly in the region today with the recent contaminated drinking water crisis in Newark.