New STEM center sparks students to engage in science

November 27, 2019

When an ordinary storage room is transformed into a sparkling science lab filled with modern learning technology, students get excited. At MPS Cass Street School, teachers report that students can’t wait for science class and are engaged in learning in new, meaningful ways.

Cass now has two rooms dedicated to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM subjects) where students are exploring new topics and experimenting in new ways. A third floor classroom is equipped with 24 computer stations and an assortment of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) modules. In a refreshed lower level classroom, students have access to 3D printers, drill presses, robotics gear, a bandsaw, a situation room, and more to design and collaborate on experiments.

“The students are really excited to have access to the STEM center and to have the chance to experiment,” said Monique Bates, who has taught in MPS for 22 years and currently teaches Project Lead The Way for a variety of age levels. “I see them taking ownership of their projects. They love being able to carry out a project from beginning to end and to see the result of a process.”

The installation of the computer room and STEM center were made possible by a gift from Rockwell Automation. Rockwell’s African American Professionals Network began volunteering at Cass about five years ago. Over time, the volunteers began to sense the needs of the students and the school, and Bates worked for several years to propose the renovations. “It was a long process, but worth it,” Bates said. “The STEM fields are wide open, and we want our students to see that they can be front-seat drivers in selecting and pursuing good careers.”

The STEM centers are used during the school day as well as in the after-school program, which is operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Project Lead The Way offerings include Design & Modeling, Energy & Environment, Automation & Robotics, Magic of Electrons, and Science of Technology. The Launch program was added this year to deliver PLTW to the younger grades.

When asked about the new STEM centers, students showed great excitement and said, “Thank you, Rockwell!” Cass Street School is located at 1647 N.

Cass Street in Milwaukee and offers education in grades K4 through 8. Visit the school website at