In 2018, the School completed a multi-constituent, think-tank initiative aimed at answering the questions, “In five years, how will we be distinguished among our peer schools? What mark will we leave on our students? Our faculty? Our community?” The answers to these questions resulted in many of the initiatives highlighted throughout the website: Student Competencies, LearnLaunch partnership, Experts-in-Residence program, student enrichment opportunities, and real-world projects. All of these are transformative programs that elevate the student experience and bring to the forefront skills such as communication, collaboration, critical and design-thinking, ethics, creativity, and global awareness, for example. In order to strategically implement these programs, the School hired a Director of Innovation as well as an Innovator-in-Residence. Faculty have been engaged in professional development and piloting deep-learning, real-world projects. And, we are developing a new campus space, the Center for Innovation, to serve as our innovation hub.
The Center for Innovation will be located in the Pony Barn, a building that has not been in use for several years. This new space will provide a platform for our students, our faculty, and the brightest minds in edtech and education to converge on our campus in a meaningful and deliberate way. We aim to restore and reimagine this historic building which will house the following:
- Edtech Incubator Space
- Innovator-in-Residence Office
- Creativity & Enrichment Common Areas
- Director of Innovation Office
Rocky Hill School is the first PS-12 school in the country to embed an edtech incubator on its campus. We are pleased to be collaborating with LearnLaunch, an established, early-stage edtech investor and company builder based in Boston, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse, located in Providence. While the entrepreneurs selected for the incubator program enjoy a partnership that offers a unique school-to-business collaboration, the benefits to our school community are many:
- Internship opportunities for students in technology, business, entrepreneurism, etc.
- First adopter access to cutting-edge technology
- Collaboration among faculty and innovators
- Adoption of a formal in-residence program
- Enrichment programming for students
- Opportunity to act as a convener of educators who will help define the future of education
- Access to mentors guiding the edtech start-ups
With the support of the Director of Innovation, we have fostered new and exciting student enrichment opportunities:
- Working with visiting experts to include artists, innovators, educators, and designers
- Special projects, internships, and independent studies
- Off-campus workshops and conferences: DesignxRI, The LearnLaunch Across Boundaries conference, Women’s Summit at Bryant University
- Collaboration with LearnLaunch and Social Enterprise Greenhouse incubator groups and mentors
- Interviewing Rhode Island leaders for the RHS podcast series, Who’s Who 5Qs
This is just the beginning of our efforts to reimagine how we prepare students for the rigor of college academics and the demands of personal independence. We are committed to delivering a robust college-preparatory curriculum using innovative teaching methods and interactive educational experiences to ensure that students are prepared to lead and succeed in a future job market we have yet to imagine.
The Center for Innovation has entered into the early construction phase. This summer we upgraded the septic system and in March we will complete abatement and demo. Construction will begin in the summer and the center is targeted to open in 2019.