The Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab opened at Delran High School this September. As part of the Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance’s integration of community partners, they are growing “cradle to career” opportunities for all learners in Delran. 14 students were trained as STEM Ambassadors, alongside teachers, administrators, and community partners this summer. TIES (The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM Education) trained the group on the digital design and fabrication tools available in the lab. These tools include: 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, sublimation printers, heat presses, Shaper tools and digital software. Additional training is slated for electronics, soldering, and paper cutting throughout the year.
Three main goals for the Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab include providing early STEM experiences, dual credit opportunities, and digital badging. Early STEM experiences are critical to develop STEM identity and encourage students to start a STEM career pathway. The lab will host a variety of STEM experiences for K-12 students and families throughout the year, highlighting career exploration opportunities and the cradle-to-career STEM pathway. Delran STEM is working with ecosystem partner, Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), to enhance course offerings for high school students. Aligning high school courses with RCBC’s Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology programs will provide DHS students the opportunity to earn dual enrollment college credit while still in high school. Finally, digital badging will provide students with a printed record of their experiences, skills, and competencies in the lab. Collaboration with ecosystem industry partner Radwell, International ensures that the skills tracked in the lab are meaningful and valuable to potential employers. That record can serve as a companion to their high school transcript, alerting colleges, technical schools, or employers to their advanced skill set.
The leads for the ecosystem, Erica DeMichele and Mary Jo Hutchinson, have presented and will be presenting once again at the National STEM Learning Ecosystems Community of Practice convening in Cleveland, Ohio from October 21st to the 23rd. Their presentation, in partnership with South Suburban STEM Network and the Colorado STEM Ecosystem, will highlight promising practices to leverage community assets to create learner experiences along the cradle-to-career STEM pathway.
The year ahead is exciting in Delran! With the new Delran Innovation & Fabrication Lab space, community events, as well as high school courses, will allow all learners (including students, teachers, administrators, support staff, community partners and families), to learn in the space, seeing themselves as ever evolving learners for 21st Century career ready demands.
To see how the ecosystem is growing STEM opportunities for students in Burlington County:
- Video: The Story of the Lab
- 2018 Lab Construction Kickoff Event
- Community Flyer
- Cradle to Career Graphic
For more about the Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance: