Holy Family Catholic Academy recognizes the significant role that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) plays in the workforce of the future. We are committed to preparing our learners from preschool through middle school for the careers of tomorrow by fostering an enthusiasm for STEM disciplines today.
HFCA's culture of continuous improvement is evidenced in our evolving approach to delivering STEM education.
In 2021, HFCA was selected as one of only 12 other Chicago-area schools to partner with the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), a respected leader in science education in Chicago and beyond. This 3-year partnership gives HFCA access to incredible tools that will enhance science education throughout the whole school.
Our youngest learners are natural scientists. We expand our 3-and 4-year-old students' curiosity by enhancing their STEM instruction with monthly "in-house field trips" to our science lab. Aligned with the respective IB units, students participate in authentic lab experiences using authentic equipment. Students begin to think like scientists through hands-on activities that introduce new vocabulary words such as experiment, observation, and testing. Click to learn more.
Elementary grades STEM:
Students in kindergarten through grade 5 continue to develop scientific literacy by using inquiry to think through the scientific process. Using the claim, evidence, reasoning (CER) method, students make a claim (similar to forming a hypothesis), provide evidence to support their claim, and explain their reasoning.
Students are also introduced to technology that will enhance their learning. iPads are used in grades K-2 for assessments, research, and differentiating instruction, and Chromebooks and cloud computing are introduced in grades 3-5.
Middle School STEM:
HFCA’s middle school program was the first middle school in Illinois to earn Cognia STEM Certification. Cognia, a multinational, non-profit, non-partisan organization conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of educational institutions. The Cognia team:
- Spent over two days analyzing HFCA’s STEM program as measured against 11 rigorous standards.
- Met with 58 students, including students who eagerly presented their STEM knowledge, with no advance preparation.
- Observed both middle school and elementary school learning environments to measure student engagement.
- Interviewed key stakeholders including parents and community members to verify HFCA’s commitment to connecting students’ STEM experiences to the world at large.
The certification report concluded that HFCA’s achievement across all of the indicators certified that students are equipped and trained to be innovative, creative, and systematic problem-solvers across disciplines. See the Press Release below. Click to learn more about HFCA's middle school STEM program.