STEAMing Ahead: Science Lab Renovation

STEAMing Ahead: Science Lab Renovation
Iswari Natarajan, High School Principal

I always get a “reaction” to my science puns, so I make them “periodically!" Just like my terrible puns, joyful scientific inquiry at our all-girls high school is a “constant” occurrence. I am thrilled to share with you that we will be renovating our High School science labs during the summer of 2022, and the asbestos abatement process will be happening over this winter break. Read on to learn more about our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum and the renovation.

The “WHY”: Innovative and reflective engagement inspires future women leaders and real-life problem solvers. Challenging, motivating, and inspiring our girls helps maximize their potential. It drives them to go after and achieve dreams they never thought possible. According to the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, girls' schools are leading the way in closing the gender gap in STEM/STEAM fields. Graduates of girls’ schools report greater confidence than their co-educated peers in using technical science skills, understanding scientific concepts, generating a research question, explaining study results, and making data-driven decisions. The research is out there, and it's worth seeing in action at our high school every day. When students have opportunities to learn through a robust STEAM curriculum, they are invested in the learning and become solution-oriented innovators of tomorrow. 

The “WHAT” and the “HOW”: STEAM places art and design thinking at the heart of the STEM curriculum to drive creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. This is done through intentional course offerings, student activities, lab work, interdisciplinary project-based learning, and experiential learning. When art and design are integrated throughout the curriculum, it creates a learning environment that nurtures purpose-driven, real-life problem-solvers who will be positive agents of change. Our amazing science and arts departments have collaborated to offer courses and experiences to our students in the last few years that make our STEAM curriculum engaging and collaborative. We have offered many new AP science, astronomy, and computer science courses (from Introductory Programming to AP Computer Science & Principles), AP Ceramics, 3D Art & Design, and much more. Our award-winning Robotics team, SMAbotics, continues to thrive. We have made giant strides in our academic programming and are eager to keep moving forward. Now, drumroll please... . It is time to upgrade our science labs to match our enthusiasm for moving full STEAM ahead.

Brand New High School Science Labs: The design process has been thorough, intentional, and thoughtful, involving many stakeholders, relevant research, and cutting-edge technology. The new labs will enhance our curriculum and programming by providing many more opportunities for our students to explore interdisciplinary work. In preparation for the construction in summer, we will be starting the asbestos abatement process this winter. The students (seniors and juniors) have been requested to remove belongings from their downstairs lockers for the last week, and the spaces should be ready to use in January after the abatement. The construction will start in June after the end of the school year and will be done by mid-August. 

I can’t wait for the process to start, and  I am thrilled for our students to have learning spaces that will spark their curiosity, creativity, and collaborative spirit. Our students were already ahead of the curve in STEAM fields and subjects. Now, with the upcoming new Science labs to match our program, all I can say is, “Watch out world, the SMirls are coming!”