The Ryan Elementary Innovation project transformed two existing spaces into a Multimedia Studio and an Integrated Design Studio to complement the school's existing STEAM lab. In the STEAM Lab students have hands-on experiences to develop their curiosity and understanding of scientific principles. The multimedia studio is a student ­led learning space where students produce school news utilizing green screen and digital technology while exploring careers in broadcast journalism and design. In the centrally located Integrated Design Studio learning standards are connected across content areas and applied in authentic settings, at every grade level, to allow students the opportunity to engage in design thinking. 

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?" 


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 Innovation Funds will be utilized to expand existing project-based learning space into a nearby classroom.  The classroom will become an Integrated Design Studio while the STEAM lab will remain largely unchanged.  The Multimedia Studio will go into the existing space labeled “Lab Greenhouse.” The space will have three distinct areas: STEAM Lab, Multimedia Studio, and Integrated Design Studio. The project will require removing the retractable wall between room 134 and room 135. 

In Room 134, Funds will be used to: 
●   Create a glass wall on the east side of the room so that students can see design projects in various stages of development to completion. 
●   Add hard (non­carpeted) flooring for easy clean­up 
●   Add tables on wheels with storage that allow for flexible grouping and multi­use project displays 
●   Add innovative seating to accommodate flexible grouping 
●   Add a Chrome cart with 30 chromebooks to support online portfolios and sharing of student work 
●   Add low shelving where the retractable wall formerly divided the classrooms 
●   Install a projector in the adjacent hallway to display student work  and highlight current activities 
●   Install a larger sink for bigger project accommodation 

In Room 136: Funds will be used to: 
●   Enclose the glass windows on the lower half of the room (make them solid walls). 
●   Remove the casework and put it somewhere else (reuse in another space in the building) 
●   Add a desk and technology to support student broadcast studio, editing, and CAD design (We have a green screen that will be moved into this room). 
●   Install studio lighting for video capture 

In Room 135: Funds will be used to: 
●   Upgrade appliances (replace with a double oven, new fridge) 
●   Increase available shelving and storage 
●   Install ceiling power sources 
●   Repaint the walls 
●   Install large wash basin

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

Stakeholder involvement in the decision making process for the use of the innovation funds included and will continue to include representation through the existing shared leadership structures as follows:  Ryan Leadership Team, School Accountability Team, and the Parent­Teacher Association.

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

STEAM Lab: Our STEAM Lab is a space where students have hands-on experiences to develop their curiosity and understanding of scientific principles. The Lab supports the Success Effect by bringing projects to the students that challenge them to think critically to solve real problems and create novel solutions. We believe this space helps to develop a lifelong interest in the STEAM fields by challenging learners to approach projects with confidence and ingenuity. Students leave the lab excited to share their observations, hypotheses, and findings. 

Multimedia Studio:  Our Multimedia studio is student ­led learning space where students produce school news utilizing green screen and digital technology while exploring careers in broadcast journalism and design.  Ryan staff support students as they explore the many different ways to effectively communicate and teach their peers about PBIS, social skills, and school culture and events. 

Integrated Design Studio:  This centrally located Integrated Design Studio will provide a space where learning standards will be connected across content areas and applied in authentic settings, at every grade level, to allow students the opportunity to engage in design thinking. Although its benefits are well supported, Integrated Curriculum requires more space, time, thought, and materials.  Projects like 3rd grade bridge building, 4th grade circuitry, and 2nd grade force and motion, for example, require students to have the ability to build on previous work in order to achieve maximum benefit and understanding. The Integrated Design Studio will provide a space where thinking is made visible, work can be paused and resumed, and time (which would have been wasted with set­up and take down) can be better spent explaining, collaborating and creating meaningful projects. As a result, the scale of the projects that would be available to our students will be much larger. The space to engage in life-sized, meaningful work will stoke the curiosity of all students. The Integrated Design Studio will also provide a showcase for our students’ work where parents and community members will be invited to tour, celebrate, and participate in STEAM.

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

The Ryan Elementary STEAM School expanded Project Based Learning space aligns to the following Innovation Guiding Principle:  Learning fosters a culture of curiosity and risk-taking.   The projects that take place in this space do not have correct answers. Each student will bring a unique perspective to their work and take risks by subjecting their ideas to scientific testing. The opportunity this provides is one where students are encouraged and feel safe to learn at their individual levels.  They will make mistakes, learn from them, and improve upon their design and work products.  They will discover and learn by doing, sharing, and doing again, which will fuel their curiosity and their desire to continue to pose questions and solve problems. 

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

Creating this space as a focal point of our school sends the message that we value the thinking that goes on here and we believe in our students' ability to solve complex challenging problems. Our STEAM curriculum is rooted in the Growth Mindset and students who engage with the projects here are successful. We expect to see curiosity and questions spilling over from other areas of their learning into a space where connections can mean everything. Learning to apply what you have learned is the cornerstone of every educational initiative and we believe the Design Lab space supports this belief. 

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?

We expect to see more families engaged in the learning that takes place here, as those families will hear about the projects and be invited by their own children to tour, share, and participate in the learning. The glass wall will provide a constant window into the learning that takes place as volunteers and community members as well as the student body and staff navigate through our halls and find themselves excited to see what’s happening and what’s next in the space.  We expect to see more students giving themselves homework as they research topics of interest and ways to solve challenges that arise from design thinking projects.

We plan to take anecdotal/narrative data from staff, students, families, and volunteers about their experience interacting (whether directly or indirectly) with the PBL space and how it has affected their understanding and mastery of standards across the content areas. 

In addition, we will survey our parent partners and other stakeholders around their impressions about the effectiveness of the PBL space in supporting Common Core standards, and our commitment to the Innovation Guiding Principles.

7. What professional learning and support might your staff might need in order to reach the desired learning outcomes for the space?

Luckily, project­based learning as a principle isn’t new to our building, as experiential learning has been embraced here for many years.  Our staff would need support and training using all of the features of our new space and collaboration time to identify the most effective use of our new space. Staff will need to learn to modify their classroom practices to embrace and further integrate the innovation guiding principles supported in the expanded learning space.