North Yarmouth Academy Building Innovation Lab

North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) is installing a state-of-the-art innovation lab to be ready at the start of the 2016-17 school year. NYA raised $80,000 for the project. The lab will be located in the Mertz Science Center on NYA’s campus. The space will contain resources to promote innovation and integration of technology across the curriculum in grades kindergarten through twelfth. There will be a space to work on individual and group projects within the lab and resources that can be checked out for use outside the lab. The innovation lab will enhance existing courses, provide resources for new courses, including NYA’s Diploma with Distinction in STEM program, and provide developmentally-appropriate resources to cultivate exploration and discovery.

“If you can dream it, you can build it,” said Chris Mazzurco, NYA’s Director of Information Technology whose team is managing the installation. “If there is a project you are thinking about – the resources to make it happen will exist in NYA’s innovation lab.”

NYA has always recognized the importance of fostering critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and real-world problem solving skills. This environment will support the development and advancement of these skills and greater prepare NYA graduates for challenging college careers in the 21st century landscape and beyond. Educational tools in the new lab will include 3D printers, design software, new Dell Precision desktops, filmmaking and music recording equipment, robotics hardware, and more. In January, NYA received a $25,000 grant from the Davis Family Foundation in support of the lab. The remaining funds and more were raised through the generosity of the NYA community at the 32nd Annual Soirée in April. Significant professional development for faculty is also included as part of this project, so there will be knowledgeable teachers to maximize these new tools.

“This lab is going to add a great deal of value to NYA’s overall program,” said Head of School Ben Jackson. “It’s not just about the technology,” he said. “It’s about the design thinking from the students, and it’s about collaborating on projects.  This is a space where students will be able to learn and discover on their own.”