Greenwich High’s Innovation Lab, an interdisciplinary academic program to be implemented with a group of sophomores next year, has elicited considerable excitement and interest from community members since the concept was initially introduced. On Tuesday afternoon, freshman who were selected to participate in this unique program bonded during an ice cream social.
The students attending this social had engaged themselves in an intensive process designed to ensure the Innovation Lab was a good fit for them.
Ms. Shaw, a GHS teacher who has been involved with the research and design of Innovation Lab, stated that: “Students started applying after speaking with their Social Studies and English teachers about the program.”
Ms. Goldin, a GHS teacher also on the Innovation Lab team, added: “The students were asked to fill out an online application that was really just a series of questions getting them to think about who they were as a learner.”
After completing the application, every student attended a brief information session with a few Innovation Lab faculty members. Finally, every student signed an agreement to join the program, as did their guidance counselor and parent(s).
This vetting process was clearly a valuable one. Every student whom this reporter interviewed at the social articulated a strong drive to experience the unique learning that the Innovation Lab provides its students.
When asked her primary reason for enrolling in Innovation Lab, freshman Haley Mccaw stated: “It will be interesting to be able to focus more on our personal interests, and not just a regular curriculum.”
Specifically, Haley, a regular volunteer with Kids in Crisis, would like to find ways of linking her passion for community service with the projects she carries out in the lab.
Student Grant Cooper expressed his excitement at having the opportunity to pursue education in a manner more conducive to his learning style: “My brain doesn’t follow the typical lesson plans for the school as well . . . so it’s really awesome to be introducing a whole new way to learn to the school system.”
Kathryn Papas, another future Innovation Lab member, stated that she looked forward to learning in an environment not structured around regular testing: “[Innovation Lab] makes you learn beyond the textbook. I find myself, in a lot of my classes, just learning for a test, and I think that there is much more to learning.”
It is clear that every student involved in this program has a distinct motivation for participating in Innovation Lab. This reporter very much looks forward to witnessing the creative projects that this diverse, intellectually driven group comes up with next year.