St. Joan Antida High School (SJA) was awarded a $375,000 grant from the Burke Foundation in their most recent round of funding. The school will use this transformational gift to create a new collaborative learning center on campus in addition to adding a full-time school social worker to meet the growing social/emotional needs of its students.
The Burke R.O.A.R. Center
The Burke Foundation grant provides the opportunity to renovate a large but underutilized space in the school into a COVID-safe, multi-purpose center that fosters engagement, collaboration, and active learning for SJA students. The new space will be called the Burke R.O.A.R. Center. (R.O.A.R. is used within SJA for programs that support our students to "Reach Out and Achieve Results.")
The Burke R.O.A.R. Center will be designed to allow for small group discussions as well as open meeting areas for classes, student clubs, professional development for faculty, and community gatherings. The space design and layout will provide flexibility to meet the ever-changing need of SJA's students, faculty, and staff. As part of the school's strategic vision, there are long-term plans to also renovate classroom spaces above the Burke R.O.A.R. Center into the SJA Career Center. These classrooms will become dedicated spaces for a Health Sciences Clinic, a Business Media and Communication Center, and an Engineering and IT Lab to support SJA's new career-focused curriculum.
"The Burke R.O.A.R. Center will be the cornerstone of a transformational change for St. Joan Antida High School," said Marikris Coryell, President of St. Joan Antida High School. "It is the beginning of an incredible shift as we continue to build our curriculum to meet the educational and career aspirations of the young women we serve on a daily basis and empower them to change the world."
Construction on the Burke R.O.A.R. Center is expected to begin this spring with goals to open the Center for the 2021-22 school year next fall.
The grant also provides the opportunity to hire a much-needed social worker to join the school's full-time staff. The campus social worker will work alongside faculty and administration ensuring a stronger focus on the students' social/emotional needs, especially addressing the increase of stress and anxiety most recently caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The addition of the new position will allow SJA's current school counselors to primarily focus on college and career readiness and academic advising. The school hopes to have the social worker position filled this spring.
"The Burke Foundation is proud to support St. Joan Antida High School's efforts to deliver real-world resources to their students. We hope that this grant will open meaningful doors to advance access and opportunity for the young women at St. Joan's," said Tina Quealy, Executive Director of the Burke Foundation. "Having an intentional space to connect, to be inspired, and to collaborate helps to ensure that students will leave St. Joan Antida High School empowered and with the opportunity to reach their full potential."