Grant funds functional space at high school

Students sit in lobby

A $5,000 grant from Lowe’s has helped Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School repurpose a lobby into a multi-purpose space.

Work began on the space last year, but when students returned to school in the fall, they found a functional and attractive Innovation Lounge where an empty space had been.

According to teacher Heather McCutcheon, who secured the grant, the funding covered the furniture, materials and technology needed to create a usable space.

Cafe-style seating and a long counter complete with docked iPads offer space that students and teachers can use in a variety of ways. The walls of windows on both sides were decorated with handwritten messages of encouragement from teachers and staff over the summer.

According to technology coordinator Ryan Orilio, the space offers a comfortable space for students to work privately or in small groups. Faculty and staff can also use the space.

Giving students space to work, and convenient access to technology, dovetails with broader district goals, which include supporting student-centered learning and giving students quality access to technology.

Seventh-graders entering Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School this fall are the first class to use to Chromebooks in all their core classes. All teachers have access to shared devices (including Chromebooks and iPads) for students to use in the classroom.

According to Orilio, eighth- and ninth-graders will be getting Chromebooks in all their core classes later this school year. And beginning with the 2018-19 school year, upperclass students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades will each receive a device, which will stay with them until graduation.