West Roxbury, Mass. – Catholic Memorial School broke ground on the construction of its $9.7 million Center for Integrated and Applied Learning
(CIAL) during a ceremony that included representatives from the Yawkey Foundations and the City of Boston at the school’s campus on Wednesday morning.
The Yawkey Foundations, which made a lead gift of $2.5 million
to fund the CIAL in September of 2018, sent trustees Mr. James P. Healey and Ms. Maureen Bleday to represent the organization at the groundbreaking ceremony, which CM President Dr. Peter Folan hosted.
Mr. Jack Duggan, a representative of Mayor Marty Walsh’s Office, joined City Councilor Mr. Matthew O’Malley, members of CM’s Board of Directors, middle school students, parents, and additional benefactors at the ceremony. Representatives from Dellbrook | JKS, MDS/Miller Dyer Spears, Cambridge Savings Bank, and MassDevelopment also arrived for the festivities.
“The Center for Integrated and Applied Learning is the future of education,” said Dr. Folan.
“This Center will move CM forward at a rapid pace and ensure that our graduates continue to be forward-thinking leaders in our community.”
The largest capital building project in CM’s history, the CIAL will transform the school’s underutilized administrative wing into a nucleus of 21st century teaching, learning, and collaboration, according to Dr. Folan. Renderings of the CIAL feature five cutting-edge studio classrooms in addition to a series of collaborative workspaces.
In addition to the Yawkey Foundations’ support, numerous alumni, parents, and benefactors have made additional gifts in support of the project.
“The support of the Yawkey Foundations has been transformational for our school, and has served as an impetus for our alumni, parents, and friends to further support this effort,” said Mr. Jack Moynihan, the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at CM and a member of the CM Class of 1981.
“We are so appreciative of our entire community for their philanthropic support and we look forward to further engaging them as this important effort continues.”
At the ceremony, Dr. Folan told the audience that the studios offer students the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences, which encourages them to test concepts, engage in scientific discovery, design prototypes, and explore artistic expression. The Center will also provide needed space for CM’s two-time state champion speech and debate team, Campus Ministry program, arts program, and theater program.
“Each step was leading to this moment,” said Dr. Folan.
“If we are going to truly teach boys for today, then we need classrooms that embrace the future of teaching.”
The CIAL joins the Kennedy Commons, Innovation Lab, Health & Wellness Center, John Walsh ’61 Field House, Math Studio, and Student-Teacher Collaboration Hub as the latest redesigned space in CM’s six-year, $15 million capital renovation.
“These spaces were all a part of a larger plan and were used to test educational concepts and new programs,” added Dr. Folan.
This capital renovation traces its roots back to the summer of 2016, when faculty members first met to discuss the school’s existing curriculum.
Together, they outlined desired learning outcomes for a CM graduate, which they monikered as a “Portrait of a CM Graduate.”
The “Portrait of a CM Graduate” summoned a call to action for an active, hands-on approach to learning. The faculty wanted to define their curriculum as both innovative and collaborative. However, they understood that this required a flexible, open learning environment that escaped the traditional classroom model. It meant deviating from standard rows of desks and blackboards to movable furniture, smartboards, and studio layouts.
That same year, CM and the construction firm Dellbrook | JKS began working together to design and plan the most efficient use of space on the school’s urban campus. Beginning with CM’s Innovation Lab, Dellbrook lent its expertise on how to turn CM’s newfound vision into a reality.
The school then partnered with EXPLO Studios, a non-profit that specializes in designing active curriculum, in 2017. This partnership enabled the faculty to test its new curriculum in pilot spaces, beginning with the introduction of Critical Making classes
at the middle school level, the only known program of its kind in the state. These courses encouraged kids to use their own problem-solving techniques to integrate subject matter across different disciplines and solve real-world problems. A design engineering course soon followed at the high school level, one of 31 new courses added to the curriculum in a three-year span.
“[Dellbrook’s] deep experience in the construction field, building great buildings in Boston and Massachusetts, has been an invaluable asset to our school through the planning, design, and construction processes,” said Mr. Brian Palm, the Director of Operations at CM.
Now in the third year of its relationship with CM, Dellbrook serves as CM’s construction firm for the CIAL project. MDS/Miller Dyer Spears, an architecture design firm that specializes in projects that foster innovation, learning, creativity, and wellness, agreed to design the Center.
“We feel confident that because of this partnership, the Center for Integrated and Applied Learning will exceed expectations and bring incredible quality teaching and learning spaces to our boys, to our faculty, and to the CM community,” added Mr. Palm.
The new center is set to open in September 2020.
“I have never been prouder to be a Knight,” said Mr. Michael Costello, the Chairman of CM’s Board of Directors and a member of the CM Class of 1967, at the ceremony.
“Today is a great day to celebrate CM’s legacy and rejoice in the efforts of dedicated faculty and hard-working young men who are embracing new and innovative educational programs and approaches.”
Mr. Costello served as managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers-Northeast (PwC) prior to assuming his role on the board. Reflecting on his leadership position, he told the crowd that the skills honed within the CIAL will prepare students for an “ever-changing” 21st century workplace.
“Universities and prospective employers can expect CM graduates to possess strong character and liberal arts training with an intense focus on developing the students’ collaboration, adaptability, creative problem solving, respect for diverse thinking and cultures,” he said.
The ceremony ended with a photo shoot and an outdoor reception hosted by members of the school’s advancement team. Students and faculty members stayed long after to take in another pivotal moment in their school’s history.To learn more about the Center for Integrated and Applied Learning, click here.