Pacelli High School Adding Science Lab
Pacelli Education Foundation Board Members gather in the new science lab. Seated are Sue Koehl, Marilyn Swiecki (Secretary/Treasurer) and Tom Herzog (Board President). Standing are Rick Flugaur, Sandy Retzki (Vice President), Jack Edgerton, Dave Pisarski, Jay Johnson (Ellis Stone), Ken Feltz, Larry Theiss (Pacelli Principal), and Todd Kuckkahn (SPACS President). (Contributed photo)
For the City-Times
Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools (SPACS) is pleased to announce that Pacelli High School has converted an existing classroom at the high school into a science lab to accommodate the growth of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum. The entire remodel was funded by support from the Pacelli Education Foundation and Cardinal Crusade, a live auction. The cost of the project was $82,000.
Tom Herzog, Pacelli Education Foundation President, said that the entire board was unanimously supportive of funding the project. “I’m confident our donors would approve of this exceptional addition at Pacelli High School. We all know the importance of STEM to our students and how we can also get more engaged with our business community and the needs of our employers.” The Pacelli Education Foundation is celebrating its 40th Anniversary of supporting Pacelli High School and has funded many other projects to support students and educational opportunities.
The demand for lab-specific space came from a commitment to enhance the STEM curriculum through Project Lead The Way (PLTW). Pacelli has initiated the second courses in the PLTW series for both engineering and biomedical sciences. With this additional demand, along with chemistry, biology and other STEM, Honors and AP courses, the lab space was needed. One of the six new lab stations is handicapped accessible.
Larry Theiss, new Pacelli principal stated, “Our students will continue to gain from the opportunities with our STEM programming as they continue their education at schools such as UWSP, MSTC, University of Wisconsin, St. Norbert, Viterbo, University of Minnesota and other institutions throughout the state and country. As we enhance our curriculum, more partnerships with these institutions and the business community will grow our students’ future opportunities.”
SPACS’ vision is to have an integrated STEM curriculum through PLTW courses beginning in Kindergarten with Launch, a K-5 curriculum specific to STEM. This experiential project-based learning allows the students to be more engaged in the learning process with the teacher providing guidance. The goal for Launch is a 2015-16 school year implementation. Gateway is the current PLTW curriculum used in the middle school. The two high school engineering courses available beginning this fall are Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. The two biomedical science courses are Principles of Biomedical Science and Human Body Systems.
Todd Kuckkahn, SPACS President said, “As we listen to the business community, we are hearing the need for young men and women with skills in engineering, manufacturing, nursing, computer science and other STEM fields. These PLTW courses, along with our current curriculum and this space will provide more diverse opportunities for our students and provide the central Wisconsin community with more qualified employees.”
Joyce Krusa, PLTW and science teacher, feels that “this space will give students the hands-on experiential type learning needed to compete in the educational and business world. The curriculum, lab space and Sentry laptop/iPad partnership make for a great combination for our students and teachers.”
Ellis Stone Construction was the construction manager for the project and is also currently doing a needs assessment for the entire SPACS system.