Platt Middle School's project will involve creating a Maker Space and renovating the library. The Maker Space will include areas for small and large group collaboration as well as tools and materials to help teachers integrate technology in meaningful ways.The objective of the library renovation is to create a  space that provides flexibility in learning zones and instructional use to support different modalities of learning.  The project aligns with three of BVSD's six Innovation Guiding Principles: Learning is a Social Process, Learning is Personalized and Learner Led, and Learning is Founded in Inquiry. 

Results - Impact on Learning

During the first school year the new space was used, educators were asked to monitor and track growth towards the outcomes identified in their project plan and present the findings in a digital story.  The story was framed by the question, "How is innovation shifting the story of learning at our school?"

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Project Photos


Project Description

To develop the school's project, staff worked together to develop responses to the following guiding questions. 

1. Briefly describe the project that you plan to implement with your Innovation Funds.

Our project consists of two new innovative learning environments. These two areas will be accessible to all students.

Library Renovation: The current design of our library does not provide a collaborative space, particularly across grade levels and across content areas. Our hope with the library renovation would be to create a space that provides flexibility in learning zones and instructional use to support different modalities of learning. We expect that the new space will foster a sense of student engagement and empowerment. This shift in environment will support our goal of providing student-centered learning opportunities. The space will have a presentation zone that will allow for hosting of full classes, student presentations, and teacher-led presentations. As the library will support multiple instructional needs, the different zones will be versatile enough to serve both large group and smaller group needs. Our plan also includes the creation of small group rooms that give students an opportunity to work together while still providing our adults in the building with site lines into the space for active supervision. Our building currently does not have these small group/breakout spaces for our teachers and students, and the addition of these will actively support the idea of “watering hole” spaces in our building. The addition of a green screen room (including upgraded cameras, microphones, computer, etc…), technology bar and mini tech bars around the currently unused columns in our library will provide students opportunities to personalize their learning and to create student products that demonstrate the mastery of the learning.

MakerSpace: The new maker space will both support current programming and allow implementation of new classes/curricula.  This space will support differentiated learning for students across levels in the Platt and CHOICE programs.  This space will include spaces for small and large group collaboration.  The tools and materials in this space will give teachers the opportunity to integrate technology in meaningful ways. This space was our old wood shop and is currently unsuitable for instruction. The renovation to this space will give us an opportunity to think about how to best meet the needs of instructional programming for our students. The Bond is providing funding for a large portion of the costs for this space. It is our hope to use some of the Innovation Funds to purchase appropriate and cutting-edge technologies and materials for this space. Examples of what we would like to purchase for this space might be laser cutters (2-3), a small band saw, a table saw, some consumable materials (wood, for example) hand tools and some 3D Printers.

2. How will you involve stakeholders in the decision-making process concerning the use of the innovation funds for your site?  

Our Design Advisory Team has been the primary decision-making body. This group toured other building projects and worked with the Director of Educational Innovation to gather ideas and input for the Innovation work at Platt. Platt also provided this group with the book “Blueprint for Tomorrow”. The DAT included: Parents, Students, Teachers, Leadership and Community members.

3. How does your project support The Success Effect? (BVSD's Strategic Plan-Mission/Vision/Goals)

These spaces (the MakerSpace and the Library) will expand opportunities for students to engage in a “comprehensive and innovative approach to education”. Additionally, these spaces will promote connection to community involvement and community use. These spaces will also support goal #2 of The Success Effect to “address the unique learning needs of each student and to create meaningful and engaging opportunities for each child”. It is our best hope that we can provide students with choice as to how the engage in learning opportunities that best match their needs, whether those are intellectual needs, social needs or physical needs. 

4. Review the Innovation Guiding Principles and discuss with your stakeholders. How will your project align to one or more of the guiding principles?

Library Renovation 
  • Learning is a social process
    • Common spaces for multiple groups working concurrently
    • Common spaces zoned for multiple learning modalities
    • Presentation zones, variety of: small group seminar, small group rooms, open commons for large group (multi-group), center for all school gathering 
    • Physical and technology structures that are flexible and adaptable 
    • FFE supports collaborative group work
  • Learning is personalized and learner led
    • Students can use technology tools to self-assess their learning
    • Students are empowered to create work to demonstrate mastery of their learning
    • Students use the inquiry process to facilitate the learning process that aligns to their passions and areas of interest (Supporting the implementation of the 8th grade genius hour.) 
  • Learning is founded in inquiry
    • Zones to accommodate project design process, collaboration, resources from multiple disciplines
    • technology-enhanced zones
    • Wet and messy zones 
    • Wide array of furnishings to support variety of tasks
      • variety of soft seating to support independent reflective and small group collaborative work
      • agile task seating for multiple uses and easy storage
      • agile/flexible tables variety of sizes, easy to move and stowe 
      • expansive table surfaces for project assembly
      • critique and collaboration 
      • high top tables for standing work
      • high top tables with stools or seats
      • tech zone seating for fixed computing
      • mobile computer storage
      • Maker/Tinkering spaces supporting prototyping ideas and developing projects

5. Determine what your learning outcomes are for your innovation. What will happen as a result of this innovation?

  • Library Renovation
    • In alignment with Learning is a Social Process:
      • Students will work respectfully, collaboratively and effectively to meet learning targets. (3F)
      • Students will use technology to collaborate effectively. (3D)
    • In alignment with Learning is Personalized and Learner Led:
      • Students will select challenging content and activities when given the choice in order to stretch their skills(Genius Hour). (2C)
  • MakerSpace
    • In alignment with Learning is Founded in Inquiry:
      • Students will make connections across larger themes and between disciples. (1E)

6. Determine how you will measure the progress towards and achievement of your learning outcome. What is your plan for gathering data to show that the change is positively impacting learning at your site?

  • Qualitative:
    • We can use data from Educator Effectiveness to measure growth in each of the outcomes
    • We can gather baseline data on how the use of the space, furniture, and technology in the library during the 2017-18 School Year
  • Quantitative
    • Instructional Survey of Staff
      • Teachers explicitly connect learning across content areas
      • How are you using the space with students?
      • How many of you are using google classroom? And in what capacity? 
        • What other technology tools are you using that foster student collaboration?
      • How has the MakerSpace impacted the climate and culture of our building? How has the library renovation impacted the climate and culture of our building?
    • Student Survey
      • How do they use the space?
      • For what purposes are you using the space?
      • What have you made/produced in these spaces (library/MakerSpace)?
      • How do the spaces make you feel? How do they impact your experience as a learner?
    • Samples of student work created in the library/MakerSpace

7. What professional learning and support might your staff might need in order to reach the desired learning outcomes for the space?
  • Emergenetics Training (4-8 hours) - (note - there is a cost associated with this training)
    • Support for collaboration between staff and between staff and learners
  • Design Thinking Training (1-4 days) depending on depth! 
    • Ideally, this would happen before the MakerSpace is implemented.
  • 2018-19 Innovation Cohort