As summer wanes and September creeps closer, students in the Greater Pittston region are mentally preparing to return to school just as much as their schools are preparing for their return to the halls.
Area schools have spent the summer launching new programs and initiatives, and in one school’s case, creating a new room to house practical, hands-on learning for students of all ages.
At Wyoming Area Catholic School in Exeter, Principal Eileen Rishcoff is looking forward to unveiling the school’s new Maker Space to complement the STREAM initiative throughout the Diocese of Scranton.
STREAM extends the concept of STEM by standing for Science, Technology, Religion, Art and Mathematics among the Catholic schools of the diocese.
“The (Maker Space) will be accessible to all grades,” she said.
The space will include lab tables and supplies contributed by parents for practical activities and experiments to complement lessons for all ages, Rishcoff said.
“We will use that as we teach with textbooks,” she said. “We will also teach in a way that is practical.”
Rishcoff said the success of the school’s recently added STEM garden prompted them to explore the idea of a Maker Space. She said she noticed how otherwise average students had a chance to shine when taking part in more practical, hands-on activities.
“We want the teachers and the kids to really seize those moments,” she said.
Holy Rosary School in Duryea also will follow the STREAM initiative this year, school secretary Lisa Licari said. Each classroom has an area set aside for practical work.
“It’s their own area to collaborate and work on different projects,” she said.
Students also will notice some improvements to the school. Licari said several windows were replaced throughout the school and the gymnasium floor has been refinished.
Fifth grade students at Holy Rosary also will receive Chromebooks this year that they will keep with them until leaving the school after eighth grade, Licari said.
“Last year we got a grant for those,” Licari said. “We will have new ones for the incoming fifth graders.”
Licari said students will be able to use the Chromebooks for school projects and any other aspects of the curriculum.
As the start of school inches closer, Rishcoff said she cannot wait for the students to see what they will be able to do this year.
“I’m very excited about it,” she said.
Holy Rosary, Wyoming Area Catholic and all of the schools in the Pittston Area and Wyoming Area school districts open for the 2019-20 school year Monday, Aug. 26.