PATERSON, NJ - Sixteen schools in the Diocese of Paterson, including St. Vincent de Paul School, in Stirling, are the recipients of the inaugural 2014 Karen M. Ristau Innovations Award. The award, sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) recognizes the diocese’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program.
The award, named after the past president of the NCEA, was given to an individual, school or parish program that furthered the mission of Catholic education through an innovated program or approach.
St. Vincent de Paul started its STEM program in 2012. The program combines the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and focuses on problem-solving, discovery and student initiative. STEM programs include many opportunities for hands on learning.
For example, St. Vincent de Paul’s upper school students were tasked with challenges including building a functional chair using cardboard. Lower school students were asked to build tall towers that could support a golf ball. “During these projects, students were asked to imagine, plan, create and improve,” explained JP Crescenzo, St. Vincent de Paul’s principal.
According to Crescenzo, the benefits of the program are visible in the classroom and science lab. “This deeper, more thought-provoking style of teaching has proven to be exciting for the children, as well as the teachers. We are honored to be recognized for our achievements in the STEM program,” said Crescenzo.
The award will be presented during the NCEA’s annual convention on April 21 in Pittsburgh.