On Monday, Aug. 26, the Delran Board of Education took a tour around Delran High School to see the many updates that have been made to the school over the course of the summer. The group stopped and discussed various topics, such as safety and security, while also receiving a presentation on the Fab Lab from STEM coordinators Erica DeMichele and Mary Jo Hutchinson.
“For tonight, our goal is for the board of education to understand our three key takeaways on why we have the Fab Lab,” said Hutchinson. “What is it for? What’s the purpose? Why did we invest in it?
“These three takeaways begin with how early STEM experiences develop the STEM identities for our students,” Hutchinson continued. “Next it’s about how high school students can earn college credits with dual enrollment with RCBC. Lastly, we will discuss digital badging, which will showcase what the students have learned in the lab.”
According to DeMichele, digital fabrication is the process of turning an idea into a tangible product through digital software and electronic tools. During the board meeting, the board members were able to meet and talk to student ambassadors who have been trained on the tools within the fabrication lab.
The student ambassadors discussed how they were able to create tennis rackets, engrave emblems into wood, create prints for backpacks and much more all through designing from their computers. The student ambassadors then showed the board members what happens after they finish their design.
Board members were brought from the design section of the fab lab to the creation side and watched as the laser and vinyl cutters transported the students’ designs from the computer into tangible products.
“The sheer interest that these kids have in this is amazing,” said Delran Board of Education President Glenn Kitley.”These kids are here on a Monday night at 7 p.m. because it’s fun for them to be able to create. Two-thirds of learning is having an interest in what you’re doing, and this Fab Lab provides that opportunity.
“There’s always going to be programs for the AP kids,” Kitley continued “But it’s the other 70 percent of kids that are looking around trying to find out what they enjoy. The Fab Lab gives them that ability to create and I think that’s the best part.”
After the board of education toured the Fab Lab, it maneuvered to the hallways of the high school. Superintendent Brian Brotschul discussed updates to the camera system, stating that instead of using cameras that only pointed in one way, the school put up new cameras that point in all four directions at each intersection. The update in the surveillance system allows the administrators to see more of the school than previously.
Lastly, the board made a stop at the main office. The area was redefined as the official entrance of the school. According to Brotschul, prior to the change, if you drove around the school, you may not know where to enter. This update gives the school a defined entrance.