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Press Release: Ten New Schools Use EANS Funding to Support PBL and STEAM

Written by Bill Laurienti

SmartLab Learning partners with California Catholic Diocese Schools to help them implement their innovative learning systems using private-school EANS funding. The hands-on, project-based approach has already helped millions of k-12 learners combat pandemic-related learning loss. 

LONGMONT, COLORADO- June 21, 2022 – SmartLab Learning, by Creative Learning Systems, is proud to announce its ten EANS deals with California Catholic Diocese schools. While SmartLabs is already partnered with Catholic schools and other dioceses across the country, this represents a record-breaking partnership that will help schools implement project-based learning and help students master STEAM objectives. According to Dr. Caroline Carlin, principal at Our Lady of Perpetual Hope in Chattanooga, TN, SmartLab Learning can help support and motivate even the most struggling students.

In an interview, Carlin addresses the major challenges seen in schools today and how SmartLab Learning helps meet schools’ overarching objectives for students. She explained that these challenges are partly due to funding and partly due to staffing, though the former is resolving itself in schools that have gained access to Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) funding.

Due to the pandemic, many children found themselves out of the classroom, which led to learning loss. “We did see a drop of about six percent in our reading and our math scores,” Carlin explains. However, this figure is not as significant as it seems. Instead, schools should be looking at other metrics of success.

“What we’ve observed is we’ve seen our students struggle to be more creative. We’ve seen our students struggle to take risks. We’ve seen our younger students struggle to cooperate,” Carlin elaborates.

These are the more pressing concerns for many teachers who are hoping to turn to SmartLab Learning with EANS funding in the upcoming year. It is important to address whole-child learning in the modern era, and Creative Learning Systems is doing just that. With PBL and STEAM incorporated into the curricula, SmartLab Learning makes it easier than ever to educate teachers on how to make use of some of the tools that can help students recover their sense of creativity and love of learning. 

For over 30 years, SmartLab Learning has helped both public and private schools:

  • Bridge the learning loss gap
  • Implement social/emotional learning
  • Provide equitable learning opportunities
  • Use project-based learning
  • Increase test scores
  • Support ELL students 
  • Promote 21st-century skills 

The SmartLab Learning system is used in classrooms from kindergarten to high school. No matter the age of the students, the key is to be intentional with the system to build up interdisciplinary studies. The main KPI for success measured with the system is increased engagement. The hands-on materials and student-led activities motivate students and make them excited about learning. 

After spending some time in a SmartLab kindergarten classroom, Carlin notes that the students are more open to the “neuroplasticity of play.” She observed the students coming up with new solutions, working as a team, and learning from their experiences. 

For many schools, funding is the primary reason a PBL system like SmartLab Learning may seem out of reach. However, EANS funding can help schools that enroll a significant percentage of low-income students who may have been the most affected by the pandemic and online learning.

EANS funding awards grants to schools to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on non-public schools and students. These grants can be used to implement the systems seen with SmartLab Learning and take more of a project-based approach to learning. The goal is to increase the creativity and engagement of the students in the classroom and help them master STEAM learning objectives. 

SmartLab Learning does more than just boost test scores and improve academic skills. It also fosters the development of the whole child and prepares older students for life beyond the four walls of the classroom. It helps them get college- or career-ready and promotes the 21st-century skills that they will need to thrive in the real world. 

Whether the goal is more SEL, PBL, or STEAM, SmartLab Learning is a worthwhile investment of the valuable EANS funding provided by the government to private schools. It is a great way to enhance valuable learning experiences. Dr. Carlin has seen the positive results of Creative Learning Systems first hand and now other Catholic Diocese schools will have the opportunity to benefit from this innovative approach. 

Schools that are interested in using EANS funding to implement SmartLab Learning can reach out to Creative Learning Solutions by calling 800-458-2880 or visiting You can also learn more by visiting the SmartLab Facebook page or Twitter account

Creative Learning Systems 

Since 1987, Creative Learning Systems, located in Longmont, Colorado, has pioneered converting traditional learning environments to project-based learning experiences. Today, CLS partners with the most innovative school leaders nationwide to implement learning solutions that increase a student’s capacity through engaged, active, and social problem-solving. Their mission is to ensure that today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders, prepared and ready to solve the complex challenges in our ever-changing world. Learn more at

For all media inquiries, please contact Noel Johnson

Title: VP of Marketing

Phone number: 720-727-2471



Bill Laurienti

Bill Laurienti is a Content Marketing Specialist at Creative Learning Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from the University of California's Rossier School of Education. Bill came to CLS after 10 years in the secondary classroom. He believes SmartLabs are important tools for engaging unengaged students and helping them access careers they might not otherwise have imagined.

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