Once upon a time, classes in educational institutions at all levels relied heavily on blackboards (sometimes in green) with good old-fashioned sticks of chalk. So, too, did they promote so-called group work, wherein two or more students almost literally put their heads together in what no one in those halcyon days would have thought to call cohorts.
This year, given technological advances only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, such practices seem long gone. Digital tablets have supplanted paper and pencil, while students spend less time zooming to and from classrooms and school buses than Zooming with their teachers and peers.
Manifold educational institutions in the metro area, of course, have been scrambling madly to cope with the novel coronavirus through technological advances, perhaps none with better timing than St. Joseph’s Academy, the 180-year-old Frontenac all-girl college prep school.
As part of multimillion-dollar enhancements to its campus, St. Joseph’s just augmented its capability to serve “the growing number of our students interested in engineering and related fields,” notes Regina Mooney, the academy’s president, in a recent press release.
More specifically, those enhancements cover innovations in STEM (the acronym for “science, technology, engineering and math”).
Under Maryland Heights’ Hastings+Chivetta as project architect and Ellendale’s BSI Constructors as general contractor, construction on the enhancements commenced in 2019 and concluded in the nick of time for the start of this fall’s academic semester on Aug. 24.
The enhancements include 12,000 square feet of renovated and upgraded lecture and lab space on the third floor of the academy’s main building, which dates from 1955. “The Weidert Center for Integrated Science offers a large and innovative new educational environment with state-of-the-art features and technology designed to help prepare our young women for STEM-related careers,” Mooney continues regarding the new space.
The Weidert Center furthers a STEM initiative that St. Joseph’s launched, presciently, five years ago across three distinct departments: Computer Science and Engineering, Mathematics, and Science. Among other achievements, the academy’s ongoing emphasis on STEM-related matters led four St. Joseph’s students (three from the class of 2020, the fourth from the class of 2022) to earn special recognition earlier this year in the Greater St. Louis Science Fair.
In short, schools and students across the area, the nation and the world continue to leverage tech to learn about topics like … well … leverage!
St. Joseph’s Academy, 2307 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, 314-394-4300, sja1840.org
The business news you need
With a weekly newsletter looking back at local history.