Deer Lakes

School District

Deer Lakes Middle School's New Innovation Center

Innovation Center Video Tour

Deer Lakes’ oldest building - the middle school - is undergoing a major transformation in what is arguably the most important room in the school.

The brand new innovation center replaces the former middle school library and it promises to fundamentally change the way students study, learn, discover and collaborate. To commemorate the occasion, the school will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Middle School at 7:30 p.m., following training for its new One-to-One Technology Initiative.

The project, which took the entire summer to complete and cost approximately $65,000, will transform what was formerly a traditional school library into a dynamic and interactive 21st century learning space with fully mobile tables. That will allow the entire room to continually be transformed to suit the needs of every group of students that uses it. It will also have new carpeting, freshly painted walls, interactive monitors along the walls and a student conversation area.

Library media specialist Christina Beaufort and Technology Director Dan Lauletta each spearheaded the project. Their primary objective from the beginning was to create a more dynamic and functional space for students.

“The way teachers deliver information and more importantly, the way students consume information has changed radically over the years,” said Beaufort. “Unfortunately, many school libraries haven’t kept pace with that cultural sea change and that hinders schools’ ability to reach their students.”

Beaufort and Lauletta visited a number of area schools that have made similar changes and took meticulous notes along the way.

“Every school we visited had something different and some things worked better for our needs than others,” said Lauletta. “We tried to incorporate most of the best concepts we saw elsewhere with some ideas we had already developed and I think we did that very well.”

The “IC,” as it will be called, will also serve as a stimulating environment for students with walls coated in dry erase paint that frees students up to be creative, innovative and collaborative.

“We want to modernize the way we are able to engage our students in a way that is authentic and hands-on to them,” said Beaufort. “To do that, we needed to fundamentally transform the way we reach our students and this center allows us to do that.”

The interactive television screens, which are in the back of the IC, will allow students to hook up their Chromebooks to a much larger monitor when they are working collaboratively in a group setting.

Another new feature in the innovation center will be the introduction of a team of trained student-volunteers on hand throughout the school day to assist their classmates in various ways including technological issues and helping to restock the stacks.

Finally, book lovers need not fear. The library has pared down some of its collection but many of the most important and/or popular books still remain.

“Physical hard copy books remain a very important part of any child’s education,” said Beaufort. “However, a modern school library is a lot more than just books and this innovation center really demonstrates that transformation in very dramatic ways.”

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