Principal of Roche Avenue Elementary, Kellie Kroutil,  was delighted when the ribbon was cut to the new STEAM Lab, on Tuesday by student Jordan Klarcyk, with Porterville Unified School District Board member Juan Figueroa and PUSD Board President Lillian Durbin. Durbin attended Roche Avenue as a student, and was the school’s principal for 12 years.

Durbin and Figueroa had a wonderful time during the whole event, as did PUSD Assistant Superintendents Martha Stuemky and Brad Rohrbach. 

The actual room that was remodeled for the STEAM lab, was Miriam Todd’s classroom, and Todd taught at Roche Avenue for 43 years.

 “The STEAM Lab is a classroom where students and teachers can learn side by side together. It has been a collaborative effort with the district office and our staff members to make this a reality,” said Kroutil.

Parents who attended the ceremony said they love the lab and their kids.

Martha Stuemky, PUSD Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services, said, “It’s so great to see the kids and the parents learning together.” 

Stuemky, parents, and other visitors looked at pictures that came up on the screens in the Smart Lab showing the before and after of the room and the new lab. She said, “How happy that Miriam Todd’s classroom is now the STEAM Lab.”

Learning Director Lisa Snyder was helping in the Lab during the evening, and she said, “I’m excited to see the kids learn how to control these new devices and the robots. Through their exploration we are all learning together. It’s challenging and rewarding.” 

She explained the small round green bots called DOT are robots that are controlled by simple commands and suitable for young children. 

DASH are blue bots that require more complex coding skills that are controlled through an application using an IPad. During the evening older students were using the DASH robots.

Kaedyn Todd helped in the STEAM lab during the evening with other Roche Avenue students. 

She said, “It was very exciting to learn about the Food Web. I gave a presentation in the STEAM Lab, and explained how crops grow, how they feed animals, and then people eat the meat from the animals.”

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.


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