‘It’s Been a Wonderful Journey:’ LU, BISD celebrate 12th Cardinal NEST at Caldwood Elementary School

Caldwood Elementary School Cardinal NEST

The bright May sun shone down on 102 Berkshire Lane in Beaumont, where the sound from the snip of the scissors celebrated the opening of Caldwood Elementary School’s new Cardinal NEST (Navigating Excellence, Success and Triumph).

In partnership with Lamar University and Beaumont Independent School District, an event was held from 12:30-2:30 p.m. on May 19 to commemorate the milestone. Caldwood Elementary School Cardinal NEST

Years in the making, the concept of the Cardinal NEST was Lamar University’s former first lady Nancy Evans's passion: to create an innovating learning space for underserved students.

According to Dr. Teresa Simpson, executive director of community relations, the goal of the innovative learning lab was created to make a safe, unique learning space for students of our community. This lab was designed to spark the interest of learning in the areas of science, technology, arts, math (STEAM) and reading.

The NEST includes technology such as a STEM green screen, Lux Blox, 3-D printer and an interactive multi-touch Triumph Board, complete with more than 150,000 lesson plans and activities.

It also offers Lamar University students the opportunity to collaborate with elementary schools in the areas of undergraduate research, the promotion of STEAM teaching, development and as an off-site classroom.

“It will carry out a collaborative partnership between both Lamar University and BISD, supporting the vision of the campuses that are striving to achieve a college-going culture in our community,” Simpson said. “We are honored to reveal this innovative learning lab today.”

The sounds of excited children soon entered the space, adorned with the artwork of Suzette Broussard, a local artist and owner of Suzette’s Everyday Art, who has graced her talents upon each of the 12 Cardinal NESTs in Beaumont Independent School District.

Caldwood Elementary School Cardinal NEST“What is more unique about the Cardinal NEST is that we also capture the concept of social emotional learning,” Simpson said. “We do that through her talent of the arts. And we bring the concept of transforming that space into an escape, both emotionally as well as physically with all the triggering concepts.”

The Cardinal NEST at Caldwood Elementary School would not be possible without a $15,000 sponsorship provided by the Young Men's Business League. Additional support was provided by School Tools — a program of the Southeast Texas Food Bank that provides school supplies to each Cardinal NEST.

“We are very proud to be able to partner with Lamar University in the creation of this fantastic room,” said Jay Johnson, president of the Young Men’s Business League. “It’s our hope that it inspires you to learn more and spark your imagination. All great things came from someone’s imagination and the will to make it a reality. That is our hope for the future; you are Beaumont’s future. Take what you learn here and carry it forward to everybody out there in the world.”

The journey of transforming spaces within Beaumont elementary schools all began with Pietzsch Mac-Arthur Elementary School. Efforts have culminated into the Cardinal NEST at Caldwood Elementary School — the 12th innovative learning lab established in BISD.

“I thank you all because you’re doing great things for our kids. Not just the kids in our elementary school here today, but all of the kids that will come in our future,” said BISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Anita Frank. “It’s been a wonderful journey.”