Bradenton Catholic School hosted a STREAM program

St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton hosted a two-week virtual STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) program in June 2020 for students of all ages.

Connected to their teachers via online Zoom sessions, students were empowered to follow the “Invention Process” as they collaborated, innovated, designed prototypes and learned from their failures. Program kits were sent directly to the students’ homes ahead of time so they could actively follow along and learn.

Students learned about flight with gliders, rockets, and robots. They constructed paper airplanes and measured their flight path and even built air traffic control towers. In addition, the students also investigated, took apart and customized a high-tech flight simulation robot.

They drew sketches, built prototypes, and designed logos for a new invention they created. Later the students created parachutes to air-drop different animals into different environments.

The inventors also designed and produced energy-efficient LED plant lights and even manufactured their own biodegradable pot and later planted seeds.

Participants discovered the unseen inventors behind their favorite sports and then designed and built their own ultimate sports complex. Students used simple machines to roll a ball during a table-top game.

Through these activities, students gained essential skills they can apply throughout their lives.

This STREAM program is just the latest in cutting-edge educational opportunities provided to students at St. Joseph Catholic School. To learn more about the school, please call 941-755-2611 or visit

St. Andrew scientists shine at regional fair

St. Andrew Catholic School was well represented at the 63rd Annual Thomas Alva Edison Kiwanis Regional Science and Engineering Fair and Inventors Fair which was held Jan. 18 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero.

The Cape Coral school sent 16 middle school students to the Science and Inventors Fair, and an amazing 11 students were recognized for their exceptional science and invention projects at the awards ceremonies. Three of those students took first place in their divisions. The event is the largest science and technology competition in Southwest Florida where more than 700 students from schools in Lee and Charlotte counties present their inventions and/or science projects.

The “STARS” of the evening were sixth grader Christopher Pino and eighth graders Naissa Esperance and Andrew Pino. Christopher was awarded First Place in the Jr. Division for Animal Sciences for his project “Cut the Frag: The Effect of Different Starting Coral Fragment’s Weights on Growth Rate.” Naissa received First Place in the Jr. Division for Environmental Engineering for her project “Comparing the Efficiency of Reverse Osmosis and Thermal Desalination for Decreasing the Salt Concentration of Water.” Andrew was awarded First Place in the Jr. Division for Chemistry for his project “The Power of Algae: The Effects of Different Concentrations of Magnesium Sulfate and Magnesium Chloride on Chlorella vulgaris Growth.”

Also recognized were: Zoe Malca (grade 6) Honorable Mention – Jr. Division for Behavioral and Social Sciences; Zachary Engle (grade 7) Third Place – Jr. Division for Physics and Astronomy; Kyle Benson (grade 7) Fourth Place – 7th Grade Inventions; Abigail Cudnik (grade 7) Honorable Mention – Jr. Division for Earth and Environmental Science; Savannah Chase (grade 8) Third Place – Jr. Division for Biomedical and Health Sciences; Declan Derba and Renato Pantoja (grade 8) Honorable Mention – Jr. Division for Engineering; and Marckovsky Ambroise (grade 8) Second Place – Special Transportation Invention.

All three First Place winners are also Grand Award Winners and will present their projects at the prestigious Broadcom MASTERS event and then this spring at the State Science and Engineering Fair in Lakeland.

St. Andrew Catholic School is a STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math) certified school and holds the distinction of being the first pilot STREAM school in the Diocese of Venice.

Principal David Nelson congratulated the students on their accomplishments.

“The amount of St. Andrew students who were recognized at the regional science fair is a testament to Mr. James Less and the school’s STREAM program,” Nelson said. “Mr. Less, along with our faculty and staff connect student learning through a variety of activities which promotes all aspects of STREAM. I am so proud of how our students handled themselves throughout the entire process. Congratulations to all Saint Andrew students, faculty, and staff on a job well done.”

For more information about St. Andrew Catholic School, please call 239-772-3922 or visit

News briefs from around the Diocese mid January 2020

St. Mary Academy students win STREAM Challenge

Four students from St. Mary Academy were chosen as the winners of the Diocesan wide “First Annual Gingerbread House STREAM Challenge” that was held in December. Voting was online and we were judged on the following criteria: Adherence to the theme – “Keeping Christ in Christmas;” Innovative technology integration; and Clean, neat, and polished design. Representatives from the Diocese Education Department presented a trophy and gift card to the students and their teachers. The gift card will be used to purchase more STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and mathematics) related technology for the classroom.

Prayer walk held in Grove City

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grove City (Englewood) hosted a Walk for Life on Jan. 18. The faithful of all ages walked in solidarity with the upcoming National March for Life (Jan. 24) and to witness to the dignity of the human person. This annual walk was also a fundraiser to benefit the Pregnancy Careline Center of Port Charlotte, which supports women who are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy.

Principal’s Corner – St. Catherine Catholic School 

By Nicole Loseto, St. Catherine Catholic School, Sebring

St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring has enjoyed an AMAZING start to the new year. We worked tirelessly preparing the school for the upcoming year by continuing to improve both the facility and academic programs. Many students participated in a fun and interactive Vacation Bible School that explored our Catholic Faith through art, sports, music and literature. We also offered the first STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Education, Arts, Mathematics) camp which provided many hands-on activities for students to explore and research science and math concepts.

Nicole Loseto, Principal of St. Catherine Catholic School in Sebring.

Kick-off for the new school year was a Welcome Back BBQ. Guests were delighted by the new improvements we made to the main school building and the promise of a challenging and rewarding year ahead. The students were also excited to meet their teachers and looked forward to joining newly established clubs such as the Rosary Club, the National Junior Honor Society, and Student Council, which launched a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society called Pennies for Patients. We are so grateful for all the support received from our families and community to make it a great success.

The eighth graders were recently surprised with a Senior Sunrise Breakfast to begin their graduation year. It is an exciting year for them as this is the first graduating class from St. Catherine’s since the school’s inception in 2008, the first Catholic School located in the Eastern Deanery. Several of these students have been with the school since it opened when they were in preschool. This is also the first year of the VPK program.

For our efforts, the school was rewarded with the Gold Seal Accreditation as a Gold Seal Quality Care program. This Seal is awarded when a preschool demonstrates a high level of educational professionalism and commitment to quality standards and excellence. This year also saw the introduction of academic coaches who meet regularly with students for extra help with their coursework. The guidance and mentorship the coaches provide builds our students’ confidence and self-esteem.

The Fall Season was dedicated to the people who serve our country. In September, we conducted a Constitution Day where the children had a chance to meet a Constitutional Scholar. In October, we held a Red Mass to honor judges, lawyers, law school professor, and other members of the legal profession. On Veterans Day, we paid tribute to those who served in all branches of the military. Our students were honored and delighted to meet such amazing individuals who are role models in their community. Celebrating their service and sacrifice helps our young men and women aspire to greatness and a life of service.

In this 35th Anniversary year of the Diocese of Venice, we have been actively teaching about the history of the Diocese and the concept of how to be “A Disciple of Christ,” using resources provided by the Diocese of Venice. Everything we see, hear and do at St. Catherine shows our children how they can live as “A Disciple of Christ” and it is our mission to demonstrate how they can live in God’s image and serve others.

Learn more about what makes St. Catherine Catholic School such a special and rewarding place to help your child grow in their faith as a Disciple of Christ at

You may reach Principal Nicole Loseto at

Principals Corner – Incarnation

By Colleen Curlett – Principal of Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota

Sarasota’s lively history radiates pride, love, and joy thanks in part to awe-inspiring attractions such as the Ringling Museum and College of Art and Design, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Sailor Circus Academy. These creative havens have paved a community of collaboration, as does Incarnation Catholic School (ICS), a lesser known but much celebrated entity. ICS is small in stature but not in accomplishments, recognition and inspiration. In fact, Sarasota’s SRQ magazine voted Incarnation Catholic School the Best Private School in 2018.

Incarnation has retained a rich, caring history from the day it opened its doors in 1961.  Much has changed in nearly 60 years, and ICS has made great leaps forward thanks to the many faculty, alumni, parents, grandparents and volunteers who for decades have invested enormous sums of time, talent and resources into the school and parish community.

Former parents and students continue to forge their legacy across the county. Danny Strzempka, a father of an involved ICS family, is celebrated as the creator of the prosthetic tail for Winter, an injured dolphin. The best-selling book, “Dolphin Tale,” and its award-winning feature film that recall Winter’s miraculous recovery has inspired millions to use their God-given talent to benefit all of His creatures. Strzempka, who has a prosthetic himself, often returns to Incarnation as a motivational speaker to address faith, charity and ingenuity.

I attribute the success of Incarnation Catholic school to our stellar staff and faculty and their collaboration with our students, parents, and community. As an aspiring STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) school, we have seamlessly integrated technology within our traditional curriculum and our Catholic faith. Many creative activities are an off-shoot of our STREAM initiatives. Our middle school students pushed their technological and artistic talents to new heights when they hosted a dinner theater extravaganza that enticed guests to solve a family-friendly mystery with a variety of hands-on forensics labs.

The love shared among our ICS family members also extends throughout Sarasota county. Our quarterly service project, “Keeping Sarasota Beautiful,” helps us bond with the community as we work together to clean our adopted roads.

ICS students can choose from a variety of extracurricular clubs and activities. The Incarnation Cheer team won the division title during the 2018-2019 All Out competition in Orlando. Middle school students have the options to take digital photography and guitar lessons offered by Florida Virtual School.

The Pre K-3 class is in its first year and is already a huge success. We are blessed to have these young, bright children join our ever-expanding family. Each and every addition to the ICS community offers another, unique perspective that inspires us to enhance our knowledge, embrace our faith, and empower our community to teach, love, and lead our disciples of the 21st Century.

Learn more about how you and your child can strengthen our foundation of faith at

You can reach Principal Colleen Curlett at

Second Diocesan STREAM School certified

Staff Report


St. Charles Catholic School in Port Charlotte has many reasons to celebrate. In late 2018, after three years of preparing for the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) accreditation, they were honored with achieving STREAM certification from the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops (FCC) and the National Council for Private School Education.

St. Charles is one of a limited number of schools in the state of Florida to receive this prestigious honor and only the second in the Diocese of Venice after St. Mary Academy in Sarasota received the distinction in October.

Principal Tonya Peters thanked her teachers and all of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School community for all their hard work to make this happen!

Such a designation is the culmination of years of preparation and professional commitment to this initiative. The FCC then validates the schools’ unique ability to provide a balanced educational experience designed to prepare our students for the future while remaining grounded in our Catholic identity.

A STREAM education is the collaborative blending of six concepts (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) through the platform of the Catholic Faith in an exploratory and inquiry-based learning environment. STREAM schools integrate Catholic identity into every aspect of the curriculum and promote a culture of innovation.

The schools that integrate a STREAM curriculum are “think forward” institutions and place a high priority on educator training, learning leadership, and 21st Century skill applications, educating students for their future, make learning relevant, and emphasize interdisciplinary connections.

We need to train students to be ready for the jobs and leaders of tomorrow in this ever-changing world,” Principal Peters said. “Many jobs that exist today will not be around in a few years, and there will be jobs created that we do not have today!”

STREAM engages students with critical thinking, team building, problem solving, critique, inquiry, and innovation and is an integrated approach to learning connecting standards, assessments, and lesson design/implementation.

True STREAM experiences involve two or more standards from Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Math and the Arts to be taught and assessed. Inquiry, collaboration, problem-solving, team building, and an emphasis on process-based learning are the STREAM approach.

“Religion, the “R,” is the foundation that keeps God-centered in all that we do as we dive deeper into learning about our faith,” Principal Peters explained.

If you would like more information about St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, please call the office 941-625-5533 or email  Can’t make the open house?  Contact us any time for a tour.

St. Mary Academy first Diocesan school to be STREAM certified

By Christine Wyckoff – Special to the Florida Catholic


After a thorough assessment and examination, St. Mary Academy in Sarasota was awarded the title of a certified STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) school.

St. Mary Academy is the first Catholic school in the Diocese of Venice, and the first ESE (Exceptional Student Education) school in the State of Florida, to earn this prestigious certification through the Florida Catholic Conference (FCC) and the National Council for Private School Education. The Academy joins just three other schools in the state with a STREAM title.

As a school serving students with special learning needs, St. Mary Academy realizes the value of a STREAM concept of learning, Principal Rebecca Reynolds said.

“With nearly 20 years of excellence in education, St. Mary Academy continues to offer its students a progressive education, affording them a strong foundation to ensure future success,” Reynolds said. “A STREAM curriculum model allows them to do just that.”

Dr. Ben Moore, Diocese Superintendent of Catholic Education, said the Diocese is proud of the administration, faculty and staff of St. Mary Academy for achieving the STREAM certification from the FCC.

“Such a designation is the culmination of years of preparation and professional commitment to this initiative,” Dr. Moore said. “The FCC has validated our schools’ unique ability to provide a balanced educational experience designed to prepare our students for the future while remaining grounded in our Catholic identity.”

A STREAM education is the collaborative blending of six concepts (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) through the platform of the Catholic Faith in an exploratory and inquiry-based learning environment. STREAM schools integrate Catholic identity into every aspect of the curriculum and promote a culture of innovation. STREAM lessons educate students for their future, make learning relevant, and emphasize interdisciplinary connections.

St. Mary Academy operates using a STREAM curriculum model. Teachers provide students with meaningful instruction and authentic assessments by using project-based learning, which provides their students with real world situations and applications. From kindergarten through Grade 8, the teachers at St. Mary Academy design units of study that challenge and empower students.

A recent STREAM unit of study titled “Tham Luang Cave Rescue,” encompassed all subject areas.  From science to art class, middle school students studied the progression of the cave rescue. Each student was assigned to a rescue team and planned accordingly. Rescue teams developed plans to feed, deliver medical attention, devise an escape route and secure life safety for everyone involved.

Students didn’t stop there. They continued their exploration in each class by: measuring distance in math class; calculating escape route times in technology class; researching amount of oxygen necessary in science class; creating mock caves in art class; developing overall escape plans in engineering; and discussing the value of preserving human life in religion class.

“It’s exciting to see the students so engaged in their learning,” said Kathy Wilde, STREAM Coordinator. “They ask higher level questions and seek the answers independently. After all, 21st century learners are problem solvers. It’s rewarding to see students so empowered to find solutions, both in and out of the classroom.”

St. Mary Academy offers a STREAM lab, vegetable garden, prayer garden, open fields, and the Zazarino Center/gymnasium as dynamic learning spaces, in addition to collaborative classrooms. Parents recognize the value and appreciate a STREAM curriculum model.

St. Mary Academy Home School Association President Jessica Alcala joyfully exclaimed that the STREAM foundation of the school is obvious.

“The faculty and staff, led by Mrs. Reynolds, continue to impress me with the way they include so much relevant learning across all subject areas” Alcala said. “It’s a new way of learning, and my son loves it.”

St. Mary Academy also takes careful consideration to differentiate instruction. The teachers accommodate the academic and developmental needs of their students in various ways. St. Mary Academy takes great pride in encouraging and fostering each child’s academic success, while maintaining a rigorous, developmentally appropriate curriculum.  St. Mary Academy students continue to thrive in a progressive academic environment, where they are faithful to God, inspired to serve, responsible for their actions, and engaged to learn.

For more information about St. Mary Academy, or to make a donation, please contact Connie Taft, Development Director, at