Village School Innovation Lab: Let the Creating Begin!

Teachers and students worked together to develop the Innovation Lab, which was funded by an FMPS grant.

November 8 was National STEM Day, and Friends of the Marblehead Public Schools and Village School marked it memorably. “If they build it, they will learn,” read the banner at the FMPS-funded Innovation Lab, where students, teachers and parents gathered for the official ribbon-cutting celebration.

Officially open!

“We are so excited to be bringing this space to our community of learners, and we are eager to see the creative, collaborative, problem-solving learning that will take place,” said Village School teacher Mandy Blodgett. “We’d like to thank and recognize FMPS: without them, this project would not have been possible.”

Village School alumni Saylor Caruso, Ailish Moran, Will Schieffer, Brewster Smyers, and Zoe Spungin were special guests: it was their vision that helped launch the project.

“We wanted a space that could be dedicated to designing, building and group projects,” explained Moran.

“We did research, and we were inspired by the Peabody Essex Museum Makerspace,” said Spungin. “We were really excited to work on something for Village School.”

Village alumni return to see their vision come to fruition.

The students, teachers and a group of parents worked on a grant proposal, students made a model of how they envisioned the space, and the group presented their grant request to FMPS last spring.

“In our Innovation Lab, students will question, design, produce, test, and revise the products of their learning,” explained the group. “With materials as crude as cotton balls and popsicle sticks, or as complex as laser cutters, 3D printers, and audiovisual recording spaces, the goal is to equip learners with a wide variety of materials and tools, and provide them with a safe space to take risks, learn from failures, and be empowered in their learning. Makerspaces facilitate the limitless learning that comes from innovation, engineering and collaboration.”

After FMPS voted to fund the grant, the design and building was underway. Now that the Innovation Lab is open for business, the work is kicking off with a design challenge created by students Juliet Burchfield and Francesca Thibodeaux.

Juliet and Francesca developed the Innovation Lab’s first challenge.

“We thought of a project that would be challenging, but not too hard for 4th graders,” Thibodeaux explained about Tallest Tower design project that all classes will tackle this week.

Even though the original visionaries have moved on to Veterans School, they were excited about seeing what great ideas will come out of the Innovation Lab. “We helped create something future students can enjoy,” said Spungin.

Please donate today to the FMPS Fall Drive to help FMPS continue to fund important educational grants like the Village School Innovation Lab. Our schools’ operating budget only covers basics like salaries and supplies. Your FMPS donation will go directly to programs that enhance and enrich the education of all Marblehead public school students. Thank you!