The classroom will be used by students in TK to fifth grade.

Cerra Vista Elementary School unveiled its STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Lab at Back to School on Aug. 24. The lab is the first of its kind on campus and features a wide array of areas for students to be able to work on different subjects including a Maker Space for engineering-type projects and a science area filled with science reading materials. The school serves children in TK (Transitional Kindergarten) to fifth grade.

While the arts is not typically a part of STEM programs, Principal Gabriella Armenta decided the “A” it would be a vital addition.

“We added the ‘A’ to STEM because we have a fabulous art show at the end of the year so, we really wanted to incorporate that,” she said.

Armenta told BenitoLink that the lab wasn’t put together because of a grant or a fund but instead from the needs and wants of her team and staff. 

“I just talked to the people here and I said, ‘this is what I’d like to see happen,” she said. “We had and extra room, so we decided, ‘let’s just make that a lab for all our kids to start innovating.’ For example, with our maker space they can just start working on different projects and engineering. I just want to get kids excited about learning and hopefully they’ll be ready for that kind of environment when they grow up.”

Armenta said she isn’t the only one to credit for the project. “I have a great team who put it all together: Evelyn Sachau and Karen Firstbrook came up with all the artwork and I just said, ‘these are the sections I want’ and they did all the art.”

During her time at Marguerite Maze Middle School, the former assistant principal introduced the “You be the Chemist Challenge” and said she saw the benefits of what that kind of program could bring to students.

“When I became the principal here I thought, ‘I’d really really like to focus on STEM and get the sciences in at least one of our elementary schools.’ This is just one of the ways to get the kids and staff excited,” she said. “We want to engage in that whole 21st Century learning. We want students to be prepared for the future and we feel that STEAM is the way to go at this point”

Armenta added, “Cerra Vista is such a great school and kids are ready. They are ready for this type of environment.”