Scenes from the Homewood Historical Society open house

Homewood District 153 invites the community to a 6 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 18, that will officially open the SMART Lab at James Hart School, 18220 Morgan Ave.

Parents and residents will get a first-hand look between 6 and 7 p.m. at how students are using the lab to enhance learning in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, as well as the creative and media arts (CMA).

The district invested $348,000 with Creative Learning Systems for the equipment and curriculum package that offers students nearly 400 topics called options of engagement: everything from the a discovery of the solar system to how to create a television program.

The former media center at the now shuttered Millennium School has been transformed into the lab. The space that once housed reading materials and library furniture today is a room with eight clusters, or islands. Each has three computer work stations. Each station is moveable making different configurations possible should teachers want students to work in larger or smaller groups. A separate media studio is adjacent to the lab.

The idea behind the STEM/CMA lab is to give sixth, seventh and eighth graders the chance to learn topics of their choosing and grasp the information at their own pace. They are on six-week rotations so that all students will cover STEM and CMA programs.

The lab’s full-time staff are Cheri Pesina, CMA and broadcasting facilitator; Katie Nigro, STEM lab facilitator; and Jacob Condon, SMART lab assistant.

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