St. Thomas Aquinas School was awarded two grants this week, enabling the South Philadelphia Catholic school to expand the resources of its science lab and library.
The Methodist Hospital Foundation awarded a $12,500 grant to create a health and science program featuring a science lab with furniture, teaching materials and technology such as digital microscopes and iPad computers.
Currently the students are limited by a makeshift classroom that will be dramatically transformed through the grant.
Along with the new equipment the school will introduce a new science and health curriculum.
If the school documents a positive outcome in the next year it will be eligible for an additional grant, according to the principal, Vince Mazzio.
The second grant from the Maurice Romy Foundation of $10,000 will refurbish the library and reading room, which currently has limited selections for the 240 students in pre‐K to eighth grade.
The funds will be used to stock the library with about 1,000 new books that are of high interest or related to common core standards, according to Mazzio.
Funds will also be used to buy comfortable furniture for the reading area and implement a bar-coding system so students can check out books to take home, which the current library system does not allow.
“By providing plentiful resources and conditions for our students, combined with excellent teachers, St. Thomas Aquinas continues to enhance our ability to prepare our students for future success,” said Mazzio.
He added that the school is currently seeing an enrollment rate (new and renewing enrollments for the 2014-2015 academic year) that is four times higher than this time last year.
St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the Independence Mission Schools, a network of independent Catholic elementary schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.