Foundation fuels innovative learning


Amanda Roth

Superintendent Kathy Greider cuts honorary ribbon with Chairman Richard Reinhart next to rooms 715 and 716, the new En- gineering Space. This space was established by a $118,575 grant from the Farmington Public School Foundation (FPSF) that was given to the high school, Irving A. Robbins Middle School and West Woods.

Amanda Roth, Copy & Design Chief

A donation from the Farmington Public School Foundation (FPSF) came in the form of a state-of-the-art engineering prototype lab, which is located in rooms 715 and 716.

The lab came to be through a $118,575 grant ($92,225 to the high school) given by FPSF and is equipped with a 3D printer as well as other unique tools that allow students involved in activities such as engineering and robotics to fully explore their interests.

The foundation’s goal has been to continuously inspire innovative learning throughout the school district. Some of the initiatives they have previously funded include Students Teaching Students, Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers as well as the West Woods News Crew.

The new engineering lab is not the first impact FPSF has had on the school but it is the most recent. In 2014, FPSF committed to fund the first Innovative Initiative Grant which supports the installation of engineering labs in grades fifth through twelfth. This included the one that was recently added at the high school level.

On October 16, donors, important personnel, teachers and staff from the district gathered to celebrate the opening of the lab.

The celebration began with a small gathering held in the library before it transitioned to the commencement of the engineering lab, where a ribbon was cut by local architect and foundation supporter Richard Reinhart.

Following the symbolic kickoff, those present took a tour through the engineering space, witnessed the work that the students had been doing and listened to speeches from members of Robotics, Electrathon and Principles of Engineering.

“I am looking forward to be able to work with the CNC machine to make parts for our robot. In the past, we have had our sponsor EBM-Papst Inc. fabricate these parts but now we will be able to do it by ourselves,” junior Robotics member Kirsten Hart said.

The opening of the lab coincided with FPSF’s 20th anniversary, and it was stated to be a testament to the importance of the foundation and their impact on the district.

“It’s been an extraordinary support to us, our robotics program started with the foundation’s support, and there are several other examples of how the foundation inspired the school district to try new and innovative programs. We have many teacher-initiated grants that have been given to teachers to try out innovative teaching practices that are more hands-on and authentic,” Superintendent Kathy Greider said.

The foundation plans to continue their support of innovative learning and have recently launched yet another fundraising campaign. This time, FPSF aims to install Edge Media Labs in the schools. The labs are meant to prepare students for today’s new business environment and, essentially, the future.