Typically, Big Walnut Board of Education meetings begin at 6:30 p.m., this year on the third Thursday of each month. But last week’s board meeting had a crowd on hand at 6 p.m. for the launch of the new Big Walnut High School Innovation Center.
Recognizing that technology has changed how students explore ideas, and project-based learning involves collaboration between disciplines, district administrators have updated the former libraries at the high school and middle school to meet the needs of today’s students.
Big Walnut High School Principal Andy Jados said flexibility is the key to creating a workspace that can be adapted to a variety of learning needs – movable furniture, large flat-screen monitors on rolling stands, podiums, white boards and plenty of large tables.
“The new Innovation Center is really all about flexibility, allowing any kind of usable space that teachers and students can dream up,” Jados said. “Multiple teachers and 70 to 80 students can gather in here and work together and collaborate. The one thing that’s really exciting about this space is, here they can do things they can’t do anywhere else in the building.”
Jados said the high school staff was involved in developing the space where students and teachers could come together and work in one space; and staff and teachers designed the Innovation Center logo that emphasizes “Collaborative, Imagination, Critical Thinking, Engagement.”
“We had students come in and experiment with various groupings using the movable furniture,” Jados said. “And we’ve already had teachers sign up to use the space for projects they wouldn’t have space to do in a classroom.”
During the board of education meeting, Superintendent Angie Pollock said an anonymous donor, through the Delaware County Foundation, provided most of the equipment for the high school Innovation Center and middle school Learning Center.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.