Meeting a Critical Need
Generator is proud to announce the launch of our new VT MakerSchools program.
Supported by a $365,000 grant from the US Department of Education, this program will guide the buildout of six makerspaces in rural Vermont secondary schools, as well as provide makerspace professional development to Vermont educators and establish a dedicated classroom at Generator to serve as a model learning space for both efforts.
“Vermont has a critical need to expand opportunities in STEAM education and workforce development in manufacturing, prototyping, and innovative technologies. This program represents a significant investment in Vermont’s future,” says Meg Hammond, Executive Director of Generator. “We’re extremely thankful to the US Department of Education for supporting this critical work, and for former Senator Leahy and his office for advocating for our project in Congress.”
Six Schools, Three Years of Support
The VT MakerSchools program is a three-year initiative to support selected schools across the state to develop, implement, and sustain makerspace programs to meet the following goals: (1) increase access to emerging technologies and STEAM education; (2) provide professional development training for Vermont educators on makerspace tech; (3) build pathways to post-secondary opportunities for high school graduates; and (4) provide greater access for rural communities to high-paying jobs in technical fields.
The first phase of the project outfitted and established a dedicated makerspace classroom at the Generator facility, complete with laser cutters, 3D printers, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter, and a computer lab with advanced 3D design software. This space will serve as a model classroom and will support ongoing professional development for Vermont educators.
Generator launched the program this spring with six partner schools:
- Bellows Falls Union High School
- Harwood Union Middle High School
- Hazen Union School
- Main Street Middle School
- White River Valley Middle School
- Williston Central School
“Access to a makerspace creates opportunities to develop a student’s skills and experience, spark a personal interest, and even foster a desire to explore career pathways previously not considered,” says Angela Selvaggio, a teacher from Harwood Union Middle High School. “Teachers are already having conversations about how a makerspace within a school building can shift and elevate the learning experiences for our students. We look forward to working with the experts at Generator to make this happen.”
Fostering a MakerSchool Community
On June 22 MakerSchool partners convened at Generator to connect with fellow colleagues, explore the makerspace, and establish a learning community made up of educators, principals, superintendents, and school board members.
“We all understand that makerspaces build a community of learners that share knowledge, think critically about complex problems, and design creative solutions through experimentation. We’re excited to be able to foster this community of like-minded learners from across the state,” says Veronica Newton, Generator Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships.