Working with a dedicated team from C. E. Floyd, Nashoba Brooks began and completed construction over the summer, just in time for the return of students this fall. Through a brilliant redesign of existing underutilized space, the Shilling STEAM lab is now directly connected to the Denault Library through a renovation that has transformed these spaces into flexible, forward-thinking learning zones to advance integrated curriculum, exploration, and innovation for the entire community from PreKindergarten through Grade 8.
The evening both unveiled the new space and celebrated the Shilling family—Kiki Shilling, campaign steering committee co-chair, and Drew Shilling— for their generosity and support in bringing the bold vision of a STEAM lab to life. Attendees included members of the Shilling family as well of the Board of Trustees, Board of Visitors, leadership donors, alumni, and employees.
Alumni parent Drew Shilling captured the significance of the STEAM Lab for the Shilling family, as education in science, technology, and engineering becoming more and more important. “To get kids more interested in the hard sciences and integration of the hard sciences with the art is what this STEAM lab is all about.” He noted that “there will be kids whose paths through life will be transformed by the experiences they have at an early age, and that is what this project will allow.”
Board of Visitors Chair Carl Kester talked about the impact of Nashoba Brooks on his children, referring to the School as a place ”where the world of discovery was first opened to them.” He talked about how the new space was designed to create “the habits of mind that will be essential for the 21st century, fostering technical literacy, creativity, patience, perseverance.”
Head of School Danielle Heard thanked donors for their early leadership and spoke about the impact the lab will have on students now and in the future. She also reflected on the importance of the timing of this work. “It is time for us to have an opportunity to reimagine the future of Nashoba Brooks. It is time that we have spaces that match the creativity and the imagination and the tenacity of our students and our teachers and our program. It is time for us to celebrate the impact this will have for generations to come,” Danielle stated.
The Shilling STEAM Lab has been integrated into the curriculum at every grade level, unlocking opportunities for hands-on learning and multimedia projects, and is currently one of the busiest spaces on campus. The new space provides a centrally located open and flexible area, surrounded by several smaller, specialized spaces.
Director of Educational Technology and Innovation Hank Bryant, who played a key role in planning for the new space with Concord-based DSK Architects + Planners explains, “Students now can work in small and large groups, spreading out as they collaborate, with access to two sound studios to create audio recordings, brainstorm ideas, and problem solve.”
A third multimedia studio includes a wrap-around green screen that is perfect for high level videography. A fabrication studio equipped with high and low tech tools ranging from hammers and sewing machines to 3D printers and laser cutters will allow students to move their ideas from ideation to creation to iteration—essential stages in the design and learning process.
“Our integrated curriculum provides the platform from which students build and explore information literacy, media literacy, digital citizenship, computer science, critical thinking, independent investigation, and collaborative iteration–essential skills for their learning at Nashoba Brooks School and beyond,” said Head of School Danielle Heard.