WESTFIELD – The Westfield Foundation has given the Westfield school district a grant to create an Innovation Classroom at the Westfield High School, School Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan at said Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“We are very excited about it,” said Dolan, who explained that the process was a “team effort” to determine a way to bring a flexible workspace into an older building to make room for engineering and robotics classes.
During the meeting, the board of education shared an informational video created by Mary Ann McGann, coordinator of school/community relations. The video, which McGann said will be posted on the district's website, helped to explain the purpose of the new Innovation Classroom and how it will help to optimize current STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
“The students need a versatile, modern, learning space that can be modified based on the program innovations that we develop for the students,” said Assistant Superintendent Paul Pineiro.
According to the video, desks, chairs and even storage areas will have wheels to allow students and educators to configure the classroom in the best way possible for the lesson. The classroom will be outfitted with updated technology, including a workstation with a built in Windows 10 operating system, built in document cameras as well as an iPhone/iPad integration system.
“I think this is going to be a wonderful opportunity for all of our students who have an interest in robotics,” said Westfield High School principal Dr. Derrick Nelson in the video.
Nelson went on to explain that past STEM clubs often required students to “bounce around from room to room” in an attempt to find proper learning and storage space.
“Ultimately the goal is for every square inch of the room to contribute to learning and to be flexible. We don’t want to set up a room for any one thing. We need the room to be set up for scenarios that we haven’t even thought of yet,” said Pineiro.