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In recent years, schools including Salpointe Catholic and St. Augustine Catholic high schools have increased their focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education with new classrooms and course offerings. Ss. Peter and Paul School has added religion and the arts to STEM programming which educators are calling STREAM.
Of course, religion is a given in a Catholic school, but educators say the performing arts give children more opportunities in school. At Ss. Peter and Paul, that means a school choir, performing a Christmas play, painting, drawing and theater classes.
“Our vision has been to bring our school into the STREAM model to prepare students for high school, college and beyond,” said Ss. Peter and Paul Principal Charlene Roll.
The school has become a biodiversity STREAM program under the Science Foundation of Arizona. A panel of educators and parents was formed to address the curriculum and funding for STREAM.
“Younger students are disconnecting from STEM careers,” said Sara Torres, a Ss. Peter and Paul parent and Executive Director of the Arizona Science Teachers Association. “(Learning hands on) allows them to consider those careers.”
Diocesan Catholic schools leaders say the STREAM model benefits all students in all schools.
“Adding religion and the arts to the STEM concept just makes sense and I’m so proud of our schools that are embracing this and the other curriculum and instructional practices that enhance students’ learning experiences and prepares them for 21st Century opportunities,” said Sheri Dahl, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese.
Ss. Peter and Paul leaders say STEM education is important for girls and students of color, both of whom are underrepresented in STEM careers.
“As kids leave here, they need to have that foundation and we feel STREAM is the best way to get them there,” Roll said.