Stepinac High School to introduce latest classrooms of the future

Stepinac High School in White Plains will introduce its latest classrooms of the future in September with a STEAM Center, Finance Center and two additional cutting-edge classrooms modeled after Columbia University learning spaces.
Photo Michael Molinelli, Molinelli Architects

Continuing its leadership in secondary education to provide students with the skills they will need to become globally competitive at college and in their future careers, Stepinac High School, which is located in the city of White Plains, will introduce its latest classrooms of the future with the start of the new school year in September.

The highlights of what Stepinac President Rev. Thomas Collins (Class of ’79) described as “bold, visionary and technologically advanced initiatives to help assure the post-secondary success of our students” include a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art
and Math (STEAM) Center, Finance Center as well as two additional cutting-edge classrooms modeled after Columbia University learning spaces that Stepinac introduced in the fall of 2019.

The latest chapter in Stepinac’s pioneering learning capabilities, which have been recognized by Rice University as a “model for high school education in America,” got underway in the spring with the design of the new facilities that are being created within
the school’s existing spaces.

The STEAM Center will boast a state-of-the-art Makerspace with a visual arts design studio where “students will be encouraged to tap into their creativity and try something new,” Principal Paul Carty said.

Located on the first floor adjacent to the science wing, the new facility comprising 2,200 square feet will also house professional industrial equipment and the latest technology that “will expose students to real-world experiences in engineering, architecture and design, and prepare them to pursue opportunities in these disciplines if they choose,” added Carty.

The 1,500-square-foot Finance Center, which will be located on the second floor adjacent to the library, will also “represent another Stepinac first in curriculum innovation,” said Frank Portanova (Class of ’93), vice principal of Curriculum and
Academic Studies.  “This unique space will be devoted to teaching professional literacy in finance at a college level.”

A distinctive Wall Street atmosphere will be created featuring LED ticker displays in real time, an essential tool used daily by newsrooms, financial wealth management firms and university business school finance labs. In addition, the new lab will allow for the integration of the Bloomberg Terminal and Bloomberg Market Concepts into the curriculum. Accordingly, students will then graduate with a Bloomberg certificate. “This will certainly be a boon to their college resumes and transcripts and show Stepinac’s continued commitment to our mission of bringing the real world into our classrooms,” Portanova said.

Stepinac’s two new non-traditional, 21st century learning spaces will “expand our advanced learning environment that, unlike anything else in the region, prepares students for what they will expect when they go to college and into their chosen career
or industry,” Carty said.

Like the first two classrooms that were well received by students and faculty in 2019, the new additions will be equipped with numerous touch-interactive displays with high performance front-facing speakers and numerous inputs for all video formats as well as a built-in browser, white boarding and wireless sharing without requiring a computer. The rooms will also feature moveable premier Steelcase furniture that will allow students to collaborate better, concentrate better, experiment better and learn better.

Stepinac’s other groundbreaking initiatives to develop a cutting-edge, technology enabled high school include the first-of-its-kind all-digital textbook library, the blended curriculum (each course has one-of-a-kind technology platforms), the Honors Academy, which has become a model for an effective small personal learning program for academically top-achieving students, and the Entrepreneurship Program elective that was launched in the fall 2020.

“We take enormous pride in Stepinac’s preeminence in curriculum innovation and technological advances, the critical underpinnings to a successful 21st century high school education that will continue Stepinac’s tradition of shaping our students to become tomorrow’s leaders in their professions and in their communities,” Collins said.

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