It is no secret that Mater Dei Prep offers a robust and diverse course catalog to its students, grounded in learning experiences that prepares them for higher education and the career world. Anyone that visits the academic page on materdeiprep.org can see that from the school’s Career PREParation Tracks in Law and Government, Fine and Performing Arts, Global Leaders and Health Sciences, to its Dual Enrollment Programs partnering with Rutgers University, Seton Hall, and Brookdale, Mater Dei Prep arms their students with the tools to succeed no matter their chosen path for the future. STEM and STEAM initiatives are advertised in schools across Monmouth County and the state of New Jersey, but few can boast that they have STREAM, a combination of Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Math, and Mater Dei Prep has it for the 2021-2022 school year! Mater Dei Prep is proud to announce the integration of two, NEW courses of study in Engineering and Technology, completing our STREAM Program!
“We are excited to offer our new career specializations in engineering and computer science to our students in partnership with Project Lead The Way. PLTW’s research-supported approach ‘empowers students to discover and explore interests, imagine and design solutions to real-world challenges, and become independent, confident problem solvers’”, states school Principal, Mrs. Debra Serafin. Mrs. Serafin, with the help of the MDP Academic Affairs Committee, and in collaboration with Saint Mary’s Grade School Principal, Mr. Craig Palmer and Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Mr. Patrick Mullen, researched and learned about the multiple benefits that Project Lead The Way offers not only for students but for schools that adopt the program.
Project Lead The Way is STEM focused, and offers written curriculum, resources, and a comprehensive guide for seamless integration of the program to fit any school and their mission. The program is vertically articulated, meaning the skills and concepts addressed in the courses build upon one another, working toward mastery in different areas of study such as Engineering or Computer Science. Each course is project-based and hands on, offering students authentic learning experiences. The curriculum is engaging, practical, and relevant.
Mater Dei Prep will integrate both the Engineering and Computer Science Technology programs into their course catalog for the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers assigned to these areas of study will participate in rigorous training and professional development over the summer and receive ongoing training through Project Lead The Way and from various professional online focus groups. Mrs. Serafin stated, “The faculty involved are enthusiastic and invested in bringing these specializations to our students, adding to our already extensive and eclectic program offerings at Mater Dei Prep.”
Implementing these specialized programs does not deter students from experiencing any of the other extraordinary offerings that Mater Dei Prep provides its students rather it accomplishes the entire package that is STREAM! According to the Director of Student Services, Mr. Phil Masterson, “This is not an exclusive program, but an inclusive program. In specializing in Engineering or Technology, our students will not miss out on any of the other engaging options that we offer. We want our students to be well-rounded, and that is why we constantly strive to provide them with diverse experiences. As a college counselor I have to consider what four-year schools are looking for from our students; they want well-rounded individuals. It is here where they begin to learn who they will become in the future. They can be in the plays and still play football, soccer or any other sport. They can specialize in technology and still be a part of the Global Leaders Institute. They can excel in multiple areas simultaneously.”
The Engineering and Computer Science Specializations add to an already robust repertoire of programs that set students up for higher education and the career world. Mr. Masterson further remarks, “These are the things that our students go to college for and choose for their careers. Technology and Engineering are where I see many of our students going. We want to give them a leg up and have them be a step ahead of others for when they leave here. It also exposes other students to these paths that they may have not considered. Through these courses, they may find a love for something they never would have thought of. I have seen it numerous times throughout my career here. Because of the diverse programming that we offer, students get to explore a variety of areas and study and learn what direction they want to take.”
Students that specialize in Engineering or Computer Science will receive recognition at graduation for completion of the Specialization requirements. Just as our Career PREParation Tracks and Dual Enrollment Programs are indicative of high performance and achievement to colleges and universities, the Engineering and Computer Science Specializations are representative of the same caliber and rigor. Mater Dei Prep is grateful and blessed to be able to bring this opportunity to their students, further preparing them for a successful life beyond our school walls!