Loop It Up Savannah and Gadsden Elementary School Have Teamed Up for STEAM Days
Friday, April 30th, 2021
If you thought that Virtual Learning would lead to a pause in hands on project based learning, think again! Loop It Up Savannah and Gadsden Elementary School have teamed up to offer monthly School Wide Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) days for Gadsden’s 500 plus students! This collaboration began in the early days of 2021, when Gadsden Principal Dr. Renee Bryant-Evans and her team met with Loop It Up’s Executive Director, Molly Lieberman about bringing some Arts Integration Literacy and Mindfulness programs to the students at Gadsden through a series of classes which would take place on Zoom, to reach all students at the school, whether they were learning virtually or in the classroom.
With nearly a year of Virtual and Hybrid Learning under Chatham County’s belt, the committed team of passionate educators at Gadsden decided that they were ready to tackle project based learning by whatever means necessary to keep their students engaged and to continue working on their school’s STEAM Certification process. Together, the team at Gadsden Elementary School and the team at Loop It Up Savannah have created a monthly School Wide STEAM Day program which engages all students and teachers from Gadsden, a team of 12-15 Loop It Up staff members and volunteers and the student’s parents and family members at home!
Each month, Gadsden’s STEAM Team comes up with a theme and together the school and Loop It Up’s staff work together to develop projects which are linked closely to Georgia Standards of Excellence for Pre-K up through 5th grade students, as well as Gadsden’s Engineering Design Process. Loop It Up’s staff and volunteers pack boxes or bags of the materials that the students will need to complete the projects and deliver them to the school for pick up. Families and students are able to pick up their supplies in the days leading up to each
STEAM Day, which takes place on the last Friday of each month.
“Everybody is always excited and ready to jump in when STEAM Day arrives,” says Loop It Up’s Executive Director Molly Lieberman, “It’s an all day experience! Students and teachers at Gadsden start the morning off with books and activities that are connected to the monthly theme. In the middle of the day, the 1st-5th Grade students participate in our Mindfulness Zone program, which teaches students mindfulness techniques that help young people process their feelings and understand the world around them in healthy ways. We are able to bring this program to Gadsden thanks to investment from a Community Partnership Grant from the City of
Savannah as well as a collaboration with Coastal Georgia Indicators Coalition and Resilient Georgia, which cultivates trauma responsive communities for people of all ages throughout the state of Georgia. In the afternoon each zoom classroom starts their STEAM day challenge using the materials kits that students picked up at school earlier in the week.”
Gadsden’s All Star teachers lead the STEAM Challenge classes with support from Loop It Up volunteers who are each paired with a zoom classroom for the afternoon. “Students get to problem solve, paint, design, create, share, read, and write,” says Gadsden’s Principal Dr. Renee Bryant- Evans, “They learn about ways to live healthier lifestyles and manage stress, too. Our students look forward to these days and all love to participate!”
STEAM Day is possible every month thanks to ongoing collaboration between Savannah’s
School Community, Non-Profit Community, Volunteer Community and Business Community. April’s STEAM Day is sponsored by Bank of America, which also supported the construction of the Mindfulness Zone at Gadsden Elementary in 2020. “Bank of America is committed to serving the communities in which we live and work by partnering with local organizations like Loop It Up that are building pathways to economic progress in our community – starting with the next generation of Georgians right here in Savannah,” said Patrick O’Neil, President of Bank of America Savannah. The materials used by the Gadsden students this month were packed by volunteers from the Junior League of Savannah, United Way of the Coastal Empire and student and faculty volunteers from SCAD’s community service club, SCAD Serve.
“We are committed to creating partnerships that support the Savannah Chatham County Public Schools by talking with and listening to teachers and principals and hearing about their goals for their students and schools. Usually when we hear about an idea or goal that a school community has, there are lots of opportunities for us to rally community support of all kinds to help make those dreams come true. Our children deserve the absolute best and our teachers and principals are so creative and have been unwilling to let this pandemic get in their way! Collaborations like STEAM Day are an inspiring example of what is possible when we listen to each other’s ideas and everybody is invited to bring what they have to the table to build something sustainable and great,” says Lieberman.
If you would like to become a sponsor or a volunteer with STEAM Day, please contact Loop It Up Savannah at [email protected] or 912- 777-3203.
Information about enclosed photos below:
Volunteers from Gulfstream and Salvation Army, recruited by United Way of the Coastal
Empire, helping pack activity kits for STEAM Day.
Gadsden Elementary School Principal Dr. Renee Bryant-Evans and Loop It Up
Savannah Executive Director, Molly Lieberman with Mindfulness Zone and STEAM Day
Volunteers from the Junior League, with STEAM Day and Mindfulness Zone supply kits
that they packed.
Teachers at Gadsden Elementary School demonstrating February’s STEAM Day project, building geometric sculptures with Dot Candy and toothpicks.
Students, families and teachers at Gadsden Elementary School participating in a March STEAM Day/ STEAM PTA Night activity of making ice cream!