Caribou Middle School Innovation Center Highlighted in Local News

Submitted by Timothy Doak, Superintendent of Eastern Aroostook Regional School Unit #39. Article is from The County newspaper, written by Chris Bouchard.

Caribou Middle School in RSU 39 was recently highlighted for their Innovation Center, an initiative led by Maureen Connell, Innovation Center Director. Below is a news article from The County newspaper.

CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou Middle School students are now learning about math, coding, technology, and creative design as part of the school’s new Innovation Center, located in the former shop area in the heart of the building.

In its current incarnation, the innovation center is somewhat of a prototype of what will be offered in Caribou’s new PreK-8 school, scheduled for completion in mid-2020. The building is set to have its own space dedicated to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities, and RSU 39 has already hired Maureen Connell as their Innovation Center director.

At first, Connell said she wasn’t asked to start doing classes and activities with students, but soon found herself working with teachers and middle schoolers integrating technology such as 3D printing, LEGO robotics, and programmable mobile spheres into their curriculum.

She said the experience so far has been immensely positive.

“It’s been awesome to be able to learn new things myself,” she said, “and to see kids having a lot of fun with technology and apply their skills in different ways.”

The Innovation Center is not a separate class period like gym or library time, but a resource that all educators can use to augment their classes. For example, CMS fifth graders are learning about the westward expansion in this country, and at the end of the unit they will build their own wagons and create supplies that pioneers would typically bring along for the arduous journey.

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