The Press Newspaper
Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School is expected to have its biggest incoming freshman class in five years next fall.
Last year’s prospective freshmen were at about 60 students. Stritch has received over 90 applications for the 2012-13 year. While the school caps its classes at 80, Kevin Parkins, vice president of advancement, says the school will take more if a student’s application looks good.
Currently, Kateri Academy enrolls 550 students pre-K through grade 12, which averages just over 42 students per class.
The reason for the growth — new state-of-the-art science labs, partnerships with science-based businesses, and incoming freshmen will receive iPads. It’s all part of the new science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine program, or STEMM.
Parkins said 70 to 75 percent of every student application noted STEMM as one of their reasons for wanting to attend Stritch next year.
“We are excited about the incoming freshmen. STEMM is really a progressive program. What that really does is our incoming freshmen will have four years available to them, so the whole potential of that Class of 2016 — they are going to realize all of it. So, that’s one of the cool things for them.”
He calls the potential growth “a positive thing — a great sign of our health and what we have going on.”
“They understand what it means. They understand that this is a new way to educate — not totally revamping the educational system, but it is a way for us to engage students by bringing in the outsiders who are professionals,” Parkins said.
“They are engineers, they are doctors, and they are accountants — whatever they may be. We bring them into the building and it helps supplement what they’ve already been taught and it helps bring to life to the textbook. That is the easiest way I can say it,” Parkins continued.
“Gone are the days of just teaching the student rote memorization. We’re now in a problem-solving mode. We need professionals who can solve the world’s energy problems, who can solve these other kinds of problems that exist in the world, and part of that is done through project-based learning, which is where we are headed. We’re headed there with STEMM, and it becomes a nice, natural transition to get from a classroom of the past to the classroom of the now and the future.”
“Tom is a great guy. He’s very energetic. He’s got a lot of great ideas for it,” Parkins said. “He’s a math teacher at heart, so he really does help us to stay our course to remember education but we also have to challenge and create new ways to engage our students.
“He was one of the teachers (along with Stritch colleagues and a Clay teacher) that received a State of Ohio grant to have iPads already this year in the classroom. He’s already been teaching with iPads. He loves technology. It kind of made sense. It was a good fit,” Parkins added.
“He will be our liaison with this stuff. He’s going to be working with our teachers on professional development. He’s going to make sure it’s all up to speed, making sure our kids have a clue when it comes to everything related to iPad integration and that kind of stuff. We’re really lucky to have him.”
One of the school’s two “bridges” will hold the STEMM corridor, which is where the renovation is happening. The cost runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars, but most will be covered by donations. A physics lab is already complete — others, like a pre-med lab, are on the way.
“What we’ll have is the physics and chemistry lab. We’ll have a couple more updates that will involve computers, and then they already have hand-held measuring devices. That (physics) lab through Toledo Refinery, Home Depot, The Andersons, and BP-Husky was really completed last year,” Parkins said.
“The other lab will be really a complete renovation. Originally built as a science lab, converted into engineering sometime back, and now we are kind of reshaping and refurbishing it back for biology. It’s a big space, it’s got great opportunities — all of our stations are going to be wired for computers and iPad use right then and there.
“Every station will have its own clean-out, because anatomy you’ve got to dissect stuff. All those things that we are now afforded as luxuries we can think about them as we build this as well.”
Other corporate donors include Owens-Corning, Bay Park Community Hospital, and Mercy St. Charles Hospital. The hallway in the STEMM corridor is floored with donated vinyl wood flooring, which replaces old carpets.
“Between the floor and those windows, that hallway is so much brighter,” Parkins said. “The other thing is that’s how labs look now. I remember (school president) Father Eric (Schild) and I were at the BP-Husky lab dedication — it’s all glass everywhere. That’s what it is now.
“It’s a very clean and safe environment as well, so for us it just made sense to allow us to have some visuals and to get people excited when they see it. The other piece is all the flooring and all the classrooms will be redone, too. It was about 6,000 square foot of flooring that was donated to us, so it was a very generous donation.”
A.A. Boos is providing in-kind labor, materials, cut-outs for windows and doors, and Northwood Door is providing the windows.
“All the lab stations have been ordered and we are in the process of getting those. That’s going to be a pretty intense process because that’s all new plumbing, there is going to be electrical, and there’s going to be gas to each station, too.
“We’re going to be revitalizing the engineering lab, so that will be moved across the hall, and we’ll have all sorts of new stuff going in there, too. It’s kind of a domino effect. We’ve got the one lab done, which is great, and we can kind of move on to the next space and the next space, etc.”
The school expects all the lab renovation to be complete by Aug. 14 — the first day of school. Incoming freshmen will arrive earlier for orientation.