Full STEAM ahead: MVES hosts community night to showcase new educational program

By CLARKE STACKHOUSE/Staff Writer

ALABASTER — Meadow View Elementary School went “Full STEAM Ahead” to show off the school’s new science, technology, engineering, art and math lab to the community on Sept. 27.

MVES principal Rachea Simms said the school is so thankful to have the STEAM lab and see the positive responses from students, parents and community.

“We have great parents, we have a great community and this lab will help make our school and other Alabaster schools teach our students in a fun, interesting way,” Simms said.

Alabaster City Schools superintendent Wayne Vickers said two MVES teachers, Lindsey Thigpen and Julie Howanitz, proposed the creation of STEAM labs in Alabaster schools and Vickers said the board was happy to help.

“This whole thing has been teacher led,” Vickers said. “They come to us and we were just smart enough to say yes. It was a great idea and we can’t wait to see where it goes.”

The lab focuses on creative, fun ways to implement science and math and helps the student’s learn in new creative ways.

Simms said they wanted to host the community night so parents could see what their children are learning and the way Meadow View and other Alabaster city schools are incorporating new technology and learning strategies in the school.

“We wanted to share this great new lab with the community,” Simms said. “We really wanted to show how Alabaster is thinking ahead into these student’s futures.”

Parents toured the school and visited different stations explaining elements of the STEAM curriculum and experienced the lab first hand.

Librarian Christina Tomlin shared with the parents how the student’s were learning coding and demonstrated a few of the programmable robots the school purchased as part of the STEAM lab.

“It’s so important to have things the kids can touch and interact with,” Tomlin said. “Using their senses enhances their learning and makes them excited to learn.”

Vickers said they have created labs at MVES, Creek View Elementary School and Thompson Intermediate School. He said they hope to add on to the Thompson sixth grade center next year.

He said the STEAM lab is a great way to expose the young students to Project Lead the Way, which uses STEAM curriculum for students K-12 to develop students with real-world learning.

ACS director of teaching and learning Brenda Rickett said the STEAM lab is a great introduction into Project Lead the Way and offers the younger students early exposure to themes they will see throughout the academic career.

“It’s so great these students are learning by problem solving with the addition of the lab,” Rickett said. “It helps foster the students creativity and gets them excited to learn.”

Simms said the MVES lab opened around Labor Day and it is already many of the student’s favorite subject. She said the lab would be impossible without the support of the ACS school board and the city of Alabaster.

“This would only be an idea of our teachers without the support we’ve received,” Simms said. “We’re so excited to have this opportunity for our students to learn in new, engaging ways.”