Holy Rosary, a Catholic K-8 school in Donelson, is emphasizing technology as it starts a new school year.
The school has launched a STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts and Math) program and there is now a dedicated room filled with resources for the students to explore these interests.
“We have some competition level Robotics this year and I feel so good about this to offer the students,” said second year Principal Kimber Halliburton.
STEM classes have already been part of the schedule and the STREAM room is icing on the cake. Added to this initiative are two 3D printers, drones, coding materials and more. They have four teachers scheduled to teach STEM classes and the STREAM room is open across the board and scheduled for different classrooms throughout each day.
“Here, it’s all about how to connect these concepts, such as engineering with the arts,” Halliburton said. “It’s about conveying how critical it is to see things don’t operate in isolation. Our approach helps students realize the integrated approach.”
Their new Makers Space room is “really exciting,” Halliburton said. “It’s a space to do all kinds of experiments and activities. Students can do activities on erosion, water pollution or even simulate an oil spill.”
Another new designation for this forward-approach school is 2:1 technology school status.
“It basically means students have access to two devices for each child,” Halliburton said.
These include iPads and laptops along with the addition of “touch panels.”
“Think of them as smart boards on steroids,” Halliburton explained.
They look like 65-inch TVs, but they are mammoth interactive computers installed with special software. Students can crowd around and interact vertically or horizontally on a stand or across a large desk. They started out with three of these last year and are adding more this year.
“My dream for the near future is more designated STEM teachers,” Halliburton said.
That dream list also includes a Robotics after school program and a STEM club. And, of course, a Robotics club.
The school’s work with technology has not gone unnoticed. Holy Rosary was recently honored as the Designated Technology Demonstration School for the entire Diocese of Nashville.
Parents are noticing as well. The school opened with increased enrollment this year.
“At one point last year we were at 281 students,” Halliburton said. “We are at 323 the start of this year.
Liberal arts is also blossoming with sharp growth in their band program. Last year students needed to show up at 7 a.m. to get practice and instruction in some cases. This year the band program has grown enough so more classes have been added to the regular day schedule. Theatre and art are alive and well too.
“We have to strive to make sure we create a normal environment for our students as best we can,” Halliburton said. “School needs to be a happy place, devoid of fear to engage in band and technology, physical education with new Lacrosse and all our tech. We are doing our best to be equipped, well rounded and develop thriving, successful students.”