There’s always something new happening at Central, with new courses, initiatives, and activities introduced and developed on a yearly basis. As our school continues to grow, we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance our school building to accommodate the needs of our student body and our robust curricular, cocurricular, and extracurricular programming. In this spirit, this past spring we launched Project reFRESH, a fundraising campaign to enable us to continue and expand our ongoing improvements to the school building.
The new Student Life Center was constructed with the awareness that our students’ school lives extend beyond the structured portions of their day. In the new student lounge, girls from all grades can enjoy an open space to relax, socialize, work on projects, and meet with faculty. The computers designated for student use are mere steps away from plush couches, and the overlarge windows looking into the nearby staff offices create a sense of transparency, connectedness and warmth. According to Student Activities Coordinator Ms. Leah Moskovich, “The lounge has already been flooded with girls and faculty! …The new space will be filled with studying, laughter, and fun.” Director of Student Life Mrs. Shani Malitzky is also thrilled with the new Student Life Center: “I personally am very excited about the re-imagining of this space. We have been discussing the prospect of a student-centered space for a long time and it is very gratifying to see it come into reality. I speak for Leah and myself when I say that our door is always open as we continue to grow Student Life and Activities at Central, and students are encouraged to come downstairs and check it out!” Other noteworthy upgrades to our building include a revamped school-wide air-conditioning system and beautifully tiled restrooms. Central has a widely renowned reputation for providing students with an environment that fosters each girl’s social, emotional, and developmental comfort, and thanks to Project reFRESH, our building is now more physically comfortable and beautiful than ever.
Another exciting renovation to our campus this year is our innovative Maker Space/STEM Lab. New equipment (including leading-edge 3D printers), professional development, and teaching methods will provide students with ample opportunities to demonstrate mastery of their knowledge by utilizing their STEM skills in core courses and through creative initiatives. The new lab is possible due to a $191,000 grant from the Gruss Foundation intended to increase girls’ participation in traditionally male-dominated fields. The grant and its resultant innovations to our building and programming, says Head of School Mrs. CB Neugroschl, will shape “the next generation of Central students, who will able to apply a new holistic way of thinking to everything they study, making them more than ready for the challenges of the coming century. Equally important is inspiring the girls to make careers in the STEM disciplines so that we can correct the unequal distribution of women in these fields.”
Central already boasts an exceptional roster of STEM participants, with award-winning students in the Girls Who Code competition and scholarship-winners from the ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Mentor Program. The grant allows us to expand our STEM education even further with increased learning opportunities in and out of the classroom, and will provide support for students to enter more STEM competitions and internships, extending an already impressive history of students interning at prestigious organizations and becoming semi-finalists, finalists and winners in such renowned competitions as Intel, Siemens, New York City Science and Engineering Fair, New York State Science and Engineering Fair, the International Science and Engineering Fair, Urban DNA Barcoding Project, and Jerusalem Science Contest.
But the true heart of the program is not the new “stuff,” which, as Mrs. Neugroschl point out, “are just implements, tools. What we want to accomplish is to inculcate in students an intellectual habit of mind, to sharpen their power to analyze, develop, assess, integrate and synthesize so that they can become active learners and authentic producers of content. We want to infuse this habit of mind throughout the whole curriculum, whether that’s biology or English, history or Judaic studies.”
Director of Educational Technology Mrs. Marci Karoll agrees, adding that “integrating STEM subjects into the curriculum offers students the opportunity to gain skills that will be crucial for successful career options because they will be able to identify problems in all areas of life and society and use the STEM subjects to respond creatively.”