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How a Utah private school leads the way in science, tech, engineering, math and more

How a Utah private school leads the way in science, tech, engineering, math and more

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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As a parent, you've probably heard of STEM classes — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. While they may seem daunting and give you an extra hour of homework help at night, they are critical to a child's education.

Florida State University says people working in the STEM fields tend to make 26% more money than their non-STEM counterparts. While you're not necessarily planning out your elementary student's career path at this point in life, the choices you make now will affect his or her career later on.

STEM classes are vital for a child's education, but a Salt Lake City school says that the acronym is missing one important letter — A for art. That field of study may seem out of place, considering the logical base of the science and math classes of traditional STEM classes. However, having an art class in the mix is essential for your child's education.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Salt Lake City is adopting this form of education, as recommended by Next Generation Science Standards.


At Our Lady of Lourdes, children of all grades participate actively in the learning process with hands-on experiences. While science classes focus on physical, life, earth and space sciences, the education gained in hands-on learning is unparalleled.

Students are expected to take a hands-on learning approach in the science classes at the school. Every year, they are required to participate in the science fairs (grades 6-8) or class science projects (K-5).


In the math portion of learning, students can expect a rigorous program to prepare them best for high school math. Since more than 90% of students attending Our Lady of Lourdes move on to attend Judge Memorial High School, the educators actively collaborate with Judge Memorial math teachers. Students and parents can rest assured they will know the material needed for high school math classes.

For those students with a particular aptitude for mathematics, there is an Advanced Math Program designed to accelerate learning.

“At the end of eighth grade, students in the program will have completed freshman geometry, integrated with students at Judge Memorial Catholic High School," reports Intermountain Catholic.

"One goal of the program is to give advanced math students the opportunity to test out of freshman math and enter an honors or higher-level math course at the start of high school.”

The timeliness of the Advanced Math Program couldn’t be better. The National Science Foundation estimates that 80% of the jobs available over the next 10 years will require math and science skills.


Our Lady of Lourdes bases its curriculum on the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) standards to make sure classroom instruction is relevant and applicable.

Group-centered, but self-directed exchanges lead to authentic, collaborative assignments within STEAM contextual boundaries.

Students are exposed weekly to instruction in hardware, software, connectivity basics, keyboarding, coding (Scratch2) and digital information access and research, according to the school's website.


While engineering might seem like a difficult college class, it's essential to start teaching it while children are young. Our Lady of Lourdes students receive hands-on engineering experience with do-it-yourself prototyping and a state-of-the-art engineering platform.

“Students are inspired to learn and invent by using the littleBits™ platform of electronic building blocks in a hands-on, discovery-based environment that fosters analytical thinking, collaboration and challenging outcomes,” the school's website states.

In collaboration with the core science teachers, engineering topics are chosen that correspond with current science and history units being taught.


While it may seem as though art is an outlier in the STEAM combination, it's actually seamlessly interwoven with the other classes. Students learn about media arts in the technology course of classes. Additionally, students take a visual arts course to build creative skills.

The Our Lady of Lourdes website says all students participate in the Meet the Masters™ program. They learn about a master artist, the historical impact and significance that artist's work had on society, and of course, the artist's technique. They then use different mediums to produce works of art.

In addition to art classes, students take music history and appreciation classes all the way from kindergarten to 8th grade. In addition to those weekly classes, students also participate in liturgical and choral music classes and perform in an annual Christmas Program.

STEAM for success

Parents and students interested in enhancing K-8 education are encouraged to learn more on the Our Lady of Lourdes website. Contact the school for a tour to learn more about the program and enrolling your child.

Our Lady of Lourdes


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