Exciting improvements and new learning opportunities are coming to the Valley Stream School District 30 in the 2017-18 school year, specifically through the introduction and expansion of Maker Spaces. These features are dedicated to collaborative and innovative education with a focus on the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics fields.
Forest Road Elementary School has secured a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant in the amount of $2,000 from The Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, thanks to the efforts of Librarian On Joo. The funds will be used to bring different resources into the school for its Maker Space.
For the past two years, Forest Road has offered Maker Space Club opportunities, providing activities such as crocheting and coding to students during their recess periods. Over the course of this school year, approximately 40 students took part in these selections. The school will now be able to enhance its approach with modern technology and physical space, which is expected to boost Maker Space participation.
“Right now this is evolving. We are using available space and accessible materials. It is a good mix of low tech and high tech materials with a focus on collaboration and creativity,” said Principal Erin Malone. “This is definitely something we want to grow.”
While precise details are still being finalized, Forest Road plans to use the grant funds to purchase a number of 21st century tools. Students will bring their ideas to life with a 3-D printer; experiment with coding and programming on robot devices such as Bee Bots, Dot and Dash and Ozobots; build structures out of Magformers; design custom-made video games through a BLOXELS kit; draw in 3-D with 3Doodler Pens; and cultivate their creative sides with a variety of arts and craft supplies.
This growing trend in Valley Stream 30 is also supported by the Board of Education’s planned additions to each of the three schools. These capital improvements have been funded at no additional costs to the residents. The additions will provide for more flexible use of space throughout the building to support innovation and creative learning. Clear Stream Avenue School recently held a ribbon-cutting to unveil their new addition to the building. Facilities improvements will be made at Shaw Avenue and Forest Road in the upcoming years as well.
At the Clear Stream celebration, Board of Education President James Lavery illustrated the value of Maker Spaces by sharing the Benjamin Franklin quote, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
“All these years later, that concept of learning through direct exploration has only grown stronger,” Mr. Lavery said. “It is important that we encourage and inspire students to think outside the box and make discoveries that will contribute to the broader world. These Maker Spaces will support us in equipping them with the resources and confidence it takes to do so.”
The district looks forward to sharing updates once students enter schools that hold robust new worlds of possibilities and experiences.