[Bill Ackerman - For Shaw Media]
[Lincoln Elementary School first-grader Danely Granciano (left) and second-grader Nevaeh Quijada demonstrate the Mouse Code & Go to Nancy Oesterreich in the new STEAM Lab at the Cicero school following a ribbon cutting Feb. 23.]
The lab at Lincoln is the district’s fourth STEAM Lab and the first to open this year. The other three labs, which are at Unity Junior High School, Warren Park Elementary School and Cicero West Elementary School, opened last year. A STEAM Lab at Columbus West Elementary School should open in April, and Hernandez said the district’s goal is to have one in each of its 16 schools.
Teachers at each school submit a proposal for the lab to district administrators. Hernandez said he wants each school to have a good plan in place before the lab receives approval from the district. Each lab costs about $60,000 for supplies and materials, which is paid in part by a small grant the district received, he said.
“We want to make STEAM teaching a part of the curriculum district-wide,” Hernandez said. “We’re building future engineers, scientists, architects and mathematicians. These skills are critical for the jobs of the future, as are critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. We also wanted to include art because all of the kids are very creative and talented. We want to build the whole child.”