The Williamston Community Schools officially opened two state-of-the-art innovation labs at Williamston Middle School just prior to school starting this fall.
“These classrooms serve as a vision for what a highly effective secondary learning environment looks like,” said Superintendent Adam Spina. The labs are designed to give teachers unprecedented access to a wide array of instructional tools while fostering progressive instructional techniques to enhance student engagement and academic growth.
The innovation labs are another phase of the District’s K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) initiative. In the first year of the initiative, the District has raised more than $250,000 from grants and donations in support of STEAM education. The two innovation labs were funded entirely by generous grants from the Dart Foundation, Mr. Jeffery and Dr. Christine West, and the Williamston Sunrise Rotary.
The selected spaces for the labs had previously been unused due to damage and disrepair. Construction included a complete tear out of the rooms, to include all new wall surfaces, the installation of synthetic rubber flooring, and updated electrical and plumbing. The most current instructional technology was added, to include high-end projectors, Apple TVs, iPads, Chromebooks, VR-Goggles, and new instructional apps and software programs. “The feature of the classrooms that has unlimited potential is the addition of flexible seating furniture,” said Williamston Middle School Principal, Robert Watson. “The modular configuration of the classrooms allows teachers to almost instantly rearrange the room to promote diverse opportunities for engagement and collaboration.” The flexible seating furniture featured in the labs includes the latest products from Smith System Science and Steelcase Education.
The innovation labs will be available to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students during the 2018-2019 school year. Teachers will use the resources provided in the new spaces to pilot instructional methods using the new tools at their disposal. “I am beyond excited to enhance my teaching utilizing the technology and flexible seating options in the innovative lab,” stated Williamston science teacher Kelly Eddy, “with a pairing like this, student success will be off the charts!” The District plans to expand the flexible classroom concept to more classrooms in the future.
For more information on the the Williamston Innovation Labs and the District’s K-12 STEAM initiative, visit the Williamston Community Schools website at www.gowcs.net.