St. Catherine’s Center for Children in Albany was the recent recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District. The grant supports St. Catherine’s R&E May School’s STEM curriculum and will allow all students to participate in an after school and summer Science and Garden Center project. 

“We are so grateful to have this partnership with the Albany County Soil and Water,” said Frank Pindiak, executive director of St. Catherine’s Center for Children. “Our Science and Garden Center allows us to take the classroom outside and connect students with hands-on conservation learning.”

Connecting students with gardening is essential for instilling responsibility and awareness of the growing process. The project will incorporate elements of plant science, meteorological applications, hands-on learning and experiential learning. In addition, the project allows for multiple therapeutic and social-emotional learning opportunities for the students and Residential Program children.

“The Conservation District is looking forward to working with the staff from St. Catherine’s as well as the other six awardees on the School Assistance Program projects,” said Susan L. Lewis, executive director of the Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District.

St. Catherine’s R&E May School is a day-treatment program that serves elementary school students with special behavioral and educational needs. Each student is assessed to understand how best to meet their needs and the school staff develops a comprehensive education plan tailored to their needs. The school works closely with the child’s family and school district, helping the student develop the skills, awareness and knowledge necessary to successfully return to a traditional school environment. Last year, the school served 85 students from school districts around the Capital Region, as well as students from over 20 counties in the state.

“We are appreciative of this opportunity for our school and students. The opportunity for our students to interact with nature and incorporate the STEM curriculum allows each student to stay engaged with learning activities,” said Michele Puleo O’Hare, executive director of St. Catherine’s.