Beyond Sunday pays off in school, PSR grants

Teak Phillips | teakphillips@archstl.org
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Catholic school students already have benefited from the Beyond Sunday capital campaign, and now Parish Schools of Religion (PSR), Catholic grade schools and high schools will do the same.

The Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri has awarded 18 grants worth nearly $780,000 to benefit 47 Parish Schools of Religion, and parish and archdiocesan day schools through the Beyond Sunday Education Fund, with more than $735,000 allocated for the 2017-18 school year. That's on top of $1.8 million Beyond Sunday scholarships awarded to more than 1,100 elementary or high school students for this school year.

And the campaign isn't over yet. Several parishes are in the final push as the foundation nears its goal of $100 million, by far the largest capital campaign in archdiocesan history.

Holy Cross Academy president Amie Koenen called its Beyond Sunday grant "transformative," adding that in a meeting with academy principals "we all had this moment when we realized this could really change how we approach education in a huge way."

Holy Cross and PSR programs at the parishes of its four campuses received a $60,000 grant to enhance its STREAM curriculum. STREAM is the acronym for science, technology, religion, engineering, art and mathematics — basically, STEM super-sized with the all-important "R" adding meaning and significance to science.

Significantly, Holy Cross and the four parishes' PSR programs will start with religion, then apply it to the rest of the letters, as opposed to having a STEM project and "throwing in religion later," Koenen said.

"We asked, 'What if we started with religion?'" Koenen said. "What would that look like?"

Pretty good, thank you. Take the story of Noah and flood, for instance. Holy Cross students, as well as PSR counterparts, would study the biblical story, then apply technical skills to plan then build an ark with materials purchased with grant funding.

"How would it float? How many animals could there be? How much would they weigh? Things like that," Koenen said. "There's a ton of science in that story."

The religion-first, project approach adds spice to PSR, which has limited time for catechesis — about an hour a week. But instead of merely learning the story of Noah in class, students might learn the story in homework, then come to the next class prepared to work, build and study the story tangibly — the so-called flipped classroom.

In another example, digital thermometers funded by the grant would allow students to study homelessness. Students would be challenged to keep a thermometer at a steady temperature over time — say, a week or month — while "purchasing" clothing or blankets with limited financial resources to mimic how the homeless negotiate daily temperature extremes.

In this way, students would learn about homelessness, apply real-world solutions to help address it, then reflect on the outcome. In the digital format, students can build databases and share them among counterparts at the other campuses and PSR, and do it from year to year.

At Holy Cross, the grant will fund supplies such as those digital thermometers for "xSTREAM" boxes — about 80 in all — to be shared among the schools and PSR programs, a cost-effective way of giving them components and resources for STREAM curriculum without building a specific lab at each campus and having four sets of everything. The grant also will fund professional development for teachers in STREAM methodology.

"We do a real good job of (teaching) STREAM, but we miss having some of those resources," said Kristi Mantych, the principal at St. Michael's campus of Holy Cross. "This (grant) really allows us to build on what we have."

Likewise, at other schools such as Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory High School in St. Louis, which is among three high schools receiving grants. Cardinal Ritter was awarded $65,000 to supplement its existing STREAM curriculum with a virtual reality lab. In the zSpace Lab, students will apply their learning through simulated activities such as dissecting a frog and exploring the Sistine Chapel.

"If I could do a cartwheel, I would," joked Cardinal Ritter president Tamiko Armstead, who was ecstatic about the grant. "With the Beyond Sunday grant, we can enhance our curriculum in a way that has not happened before." 

Beyond Sunday grants

The Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri has awarded 18 grants worth almost $780,000 to benefit 47 schools or PSR programs in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, with more than $735,000 to be awarded for the 2017-18 school year. The grants:

Amount, project: awardee(s)

• $100,000 (teacher capacity): Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Ferguson); Christ, Light of the Nations (St. Louis County); Our Lady of Guadalupe (Ferguson); Sacred Heart (Florissant); St. Angela Merici (Florissant); St. Ann (Normandy); St. Ferdinand (Florissant); St. Norbert (Florissant); and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (Florissant)

• $80,000 (Parents as Teachers in Faith): Holy Trinity (St. Ann) and St. Ann (Normandy)

• $75,000 (science lab renovation): St. Pius X High School (Festus)

• $65,985 (zSpace Lab for STEM learning): Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School (St. Louis)

• $60,700 (STREAM curriculum) Holy Cross Academy – all campuses; Annunciation PSR (Webster Groves), St. Dominic Savio PSR (Affton), Our Lady of Providence PSR (Crestwood), and St. Michael the Archangel PSR (Shrewsbury)

• $50,000 (Makerspace): Most Holy Trinity (St. Louis), St. Cecilia (St. Louis), St. Louis Catholic (St. Louis), and St. Louis the King (St. Louis)

• $48,970 (STREAM curriculum): St. Paul (Fenton)

• $40,400 (STREAM integration): Holy Child (Arnold)

• $40,000 (Project-based learning collaboration): Ste. Genevieve DuBois (Warson Woods), Most Sacred Heart (Eureka), Sacred Heart (Valley Park), and Holy Redeemer (Webster Groves)

• $39,598 (Care for Creation classroom): Assumption (Mattese)

• $39,000 (inclusion): Immaculate Conception (Dardenne Prairie)

• $35,000 (Gator Exploratorium – STREAM lab): Christ, Prince of Peace (Manchester)

• $30,450 (STREAM on the Move): St. Raphael the Archangel (St. Louis)

• $25,000 (Conserving Creation): Christ the King (University City)

• $20,000 (Science collaboration): St. Joseph (Josephville) and St. Alphonsus (Millwood)

• $15,000 (Library enhancement) St. Joseph (Farmington)

• $13,068 (multimedia for millennials): Duchesne High School (St. Charles)

• $1,000 (future collaboration): Holy Rosary (Warrenton), Immaculate Conception (Union), Our Lady of Lourdes (Washington), St. Anthony (Sullivan), St. Bridget of Kildare (Pacific), St. Clare (St. Clair), St. Francis Borgia (Washington), St. Gertrude (Krakow), St. John the Baptist (Gildehaus), and St. Vincent (Dutzow)

• $779,171 (total; $44,000 to be distributed in 2018)

For more information and a listing of all funded projects, please visit www.rcfstl.org/beyond-sunday/newsprogress-to-date

Source: Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri

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