Prep School Adds Science Research Program and House System

Prep School Adds Science Research Program and House System

The science research program is designed to turn students into creative, scientific problem-solvers who might pursue STEM careers.

This July, Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle implemented its STEM education program for junior students and a house system. The STEM program was established to help students in all grade levels build camaraderie, hone research skills, connect with mentors, be prepared for a job in almost any field, and create leadership opportunities, according to director of campus ministry Sean D'Alfonso. Iona Prep hopes the house system will help its students build a brotherhood that transcends grade levels.

Alexander S. Malecki, Iona's director of communication and marketing, says the STEM program will focus on science, math, engineering, and technology education and how it continues to shape the economy. Students will shape their own curricula over two years. In the first year, they will select a topic, build a knowledge base, and enhance their research skills. They will go to conferences and present their current research findings. In the second year of the program, Malecki says, students will pair up with a professional mentor in their field–if a student is studying cancer immunotherapy, for example, they might find a mentor at Memorial Sloan Kettering–and work on a dedicated project with that mentor.

It’s a big commitment on the part of the student,” Malecki says. “It’s a way for them to flex their muscles in the STEM area, but [also] to have a base of skills that will work for any job.” Last year seven boys participated in the STEM program.

The house system, D’Alfonso says, divides students into 6 houses (the names of which students worked together to come up with). Each homeroom class will also include students from each grade level, so older students can develop and implement leadership skills and younger students can quickly acclimate into the Iona world.

“When you’re in homeroom with a 12th grade star athlete or musician…it’s helped our kids get accustomed to the school and helps them fit in very quickly,” D’Alfonso says. “We want kids to interact and collaborate with each other.”

Main image: Over the last five years, Iona Preparatory graduates have earned more than $120 million in academic, merit-based college scholarships to top-tier schools.

Courtesy Iona Preparatory School