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Chesapeake Academy launches new Arts & Innovation Hub and expanded library

Chesapeake Academy officially welcomed everyone to their Arts & Innovation Hub on Wednesday, September 4, as part of their annual convocation to begin the school year. Built in the memory of Dianne Chase Monroe, the new space is designed for students to “employ more creative, collaborative thinking,” said Kim Dynia, instructional technology coordinator. Head of school Julianne Duval told the students, parents, faculty and staff gathered that the hub is an “addition to our purpose and talents” that will allow them to “make what the world needs of us.” From left are students Layla Leo and Jackson Pyles, Clyde and Carolyn Ratcliffe, Sam Monroe, Duvall, Thomas Birdsong, Doug Monroe and students Leyton Dew and Maddie Ritter. Photo by Jackie Nunnery

Problem solvers are always in demand: on teams, in business or industry and in the job market…any valuable endeavor requires active critical thinkers. Research shows that building the skill set of an innovative thinker requires a specific sort of education.

“With the opening of the Arts & Innovation Hub, in memory of Dianne Chase Monroe, Chesapeake Academy has the laboratory space and tools needed to reap the benefits of a vigorous design-based program connected to a traditional curriculum. Innovation and design are among the most powerful building blocks that develop flexible, critical thinkers,” said head of school Julianne Duvall. “Design learning increases student motivation, develops resilience and promotes deeper more meaningful curricular connections.

“This Arts & Innovation Hub, which anchors the center of Chesapeake Academy’s Rowe Campus, is the outgrowth of rigorous research, extensive faculty development and collaboration, and the generosity of donors who responded to the passion behind this project,” she said.

The new facility will house technological equipment, such as a 3D printer, robotics and laser cutter along with power and hand tools. In addition, a broadcasting studio for video and audio, plus arts and design supplies will live side by side with software design tools such as Adobe Creator. Simultaneously, the James Library has been redesigned and expanded to flexibly address a variety of curricular needs.

The Hub will be staffed by technology coordinator Kimberly Dynia and teachers from across the school will use the space as initiatives in STEAM and project based learning mature and develop.

“Learning has always been, at its heart, about doing. Supported by a collaboratively developed Integrated Skills Curriculum, our students and teachers will use our curricular standards to underwrite innovation and design. The Chesapeake Academy faculty will be supporting each other as we discover all the ways innovation and design will engage our students in our curriculum and create confident and competent students,” said academic dean John Baker.

Celebrating together, parents, students, teachers, community members and donors marked the opening of the A&I Hub with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and tour.

The Arts & Innovation Hub was designed by Randall Kipp Architecture and built by Connemara Corporation.

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