Pacelli moves towards the future in education

Published 7:48 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

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Pacelli High School just got a little bit smarter.

As the school year is set to begin next Monday, Pacelli will debut its brand new smartlabs, which allow students to catch up to technology and learn in a new way that is hands on.

Pacelli principal Kane Malo said the labs will be useful in catching up to the modern world.

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“We’re putting our kids into a mode to produce electronically rather than consume electronically,” Malo said. “It’s really easy to sit and watch a youtube video, but now we’re going to put our kids in a position to produce that youtube video that everybody’s excited about.”

Pacelli now has a smartlab in the high school and the elementary building. The labs were paid for with the help of the Emergency Aid for Nonpublic Schools, which was issued to schools during the pandemic to help pay for losses in learning.

With the addition of the labs, Pacelli is now the only school in Austin able to offer STEM labs to all of their K-12 students.

“These things are built to put the kids in charge of their own education,” Malo said. “It will allow them to show the teachers and the community what they know.”

The new labs will encourage students to explore, plan, do, reflect and share what they’ve learned. Students will learn about problem solving and they will discover engineering, coding and robotics.

The new labs, an overhaul in cleaning and painting inside Pacelli, and a new parking lot set-up outside the building has Malo feeling extremely optimistic about his third year as principal of the school.

“To finally lead Pacelli in a year that isn’t COVID related is going to be great,” Malo said. “Our enrollment is up and there is a buzz I haven’t felt in the first two years. With the street addition to the front and the greenspace, I’m really excited for this school year.”

The high school lab was placed in an old media center room and the elementary lab was placed in an old storage room.