San Joaquin Memorial High School will break ground next year on a new, state-of-the-art STEAM center.

The new 10,000 square-foot center is slated to open in the 2020-2021 school year on the north side of the school’s science building, said Kenyeih Williams, the director of advancement at SJM.

“By adding the state-of-the-art center, we are just going to continue to provide exceptional education to students in the Central Valley.” — Kenyeih Williams, the director of advancement at San Joaquin Memorial High School

“It will serve as a focal point at the entrance of the school,” Williams said.

Donors to the private Roman Catholic high school will finance the $5 million center, Williams said.

The center, Williams said, will include a presentation center, a performing arts theater, a state-of-the-art classroom and a makerspace where students will have the opportunity to collaborate on long-range projects and innovative experiments.

Center To Incorporate Agriculture Curriculum

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

SJM is including agriculture curriculum to address the needs of the Central Valley, Williams said.

“Agriculture is really important for our community since many folks who attend this school are in the ag industry,” Williams said.

Fresno State President Joseph Castro has identified STEAM as the foundation of the Valley’s economic future.

Helping to build 21st-century skills that students can apply in real-world situations is one of the center’s main objectives, Williams said.

“We want to infuse our Catholic values in innovation, creativity, and the arts to our students to learn critical thinking, communication skills, creativity and collaborative skills to lead and serve in society,” she said.

To help develop the programmatic side for the center, Williams said SJM collaborated with its higher education partners who she said gave insight into what students should be learning.

“They have been really helpful in letting us understand what type of skills we should be teaching our students so that when they do attend higher education institutions such as Fresno State or Fresno Pacific, they are going to be prepared,” Williams said.

Williams said she believes the center will allow students to enhance what they are learning and make their experience more meaningful.

“We are real excited to make this a part of the community.” —  Kenyeih Williams

“By adding the state of the art center, we are just going to continue to provide exceptional education to students in the Central Valley,” Williams said. “We are really excited to make this a part of the community.”

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