LHS Wins $100,000 Grant For Groundbreaking School Model

Lakewood High School is one of 30 organizations nationwide to be awarded a $100,000 planning grant from the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) initiative, which is accelerating educational innovation through technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States. The grant will fund a year-long planning process for a new and innovative secondary school model that is based on students learning through making.

Winning the planning grant opens the door for Lakewood High to receive a $300,000 NGLC grant to launch the new “school within a school” educational design in fall 2014.

The Engine at Lakewood High School will have a dedicated space on the LHS campus and will serve approximately 100 students at first. It will be modeled after a Makerspace design, which empowers students to identify, articulate and solve real-world problems. The curriculum puts the student at the center of his or her learning, is project-based and makes full use of digital connections to provide authentic learning contexts. Students will have flexible credit options, blended learning opportunities and internships with area businesses that maximize each student’s academic growth.

“We are very excited to be one of the first public high schools in the country to design the curriculum, physical space, and community of learners around the concepts of a Makerspace,” said LHS Science teacher and grant team member Ken Kozar.

The Engine at Lakewood High School will use the power of 21st century technology to connect students with meaningful learning experiences and allow them to follow their own pace and depth of learning. An average day for a student might include building a robot, editing a blog and meeting with a community partner to review a project on which the student and a mentor are collaborating.

The physical location of the school hopes to allow for open space, flexible seating options and an area to build. This non-traditional environment will encourage and facilitate collaboration, critical thinking and foster a desire to innovate in a way that traditional classroom configurations do not.

As a partner in the grant, the University of Akron can provide post-secondary options both in a brick-and-mortar setting and online for those students ready to move on to that level.

“We are thrilled that we have a team of teachers at Lakewood High School that has worked with Principal Bill Wagner and University of Akron Professor Sharon Kruse to generate a proposal to secure this grant,” said Lakewood City Schools Superintendent Jeff Patterson. “My hat is off to these educators for developing an innovative technological system of instructional delivery that embeds the Common Core into classrooms that foster learning by making.”  

In addition to Wagner and Kruse, LHS teachers Ken Kozar, Julie Rea and Sean Wheeler round out the team members for the grant. Harding Principal Keith Ahearn will take over Wagner’s role when Ahearn becomes principal of Lakewood High on August 1.

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Volume 9, Issue 15, Posted 10:38 PM, 07.24.2013