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DIGGING DEEPER: FWCS’ Amp Lab: Inside The Construction

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Connectors. Creators. Innovators. Amplifiers. Those are the kinds of students Fort Wayne Community Schools are looking forward to welcoming in August when they open the Amp Lab at Electric Works.

Beginning next school year, FWCS’ Amp Lab will give 400 11th and 12th graders from the five area high schools within the school district the opportunity to enhance their educational experience. FWCS describes the Amp Lab as a unique learning environment built for students of diverse backgrounds to gain real-world experience in an innovative and agile setting. We spoke with the Amp Lab’s director, Riley Johnson, about them getting ready to open this fall.

“The Amp Lab is kind of ambiguous and we did that to keep it as agile as possible. We did that so we’re not locked into one thing and we wouldn’t have to be that thing forever but that we can really customize the experience for each individual student but also to the community.”

While the fixtures are still being put in place, staff are thinking of ways to mold the culture of the Amp Lab for the students. Johnson shares some of the questions they are asking themselves such ass, “How do we create opportunities for students to work with businesses and organizations to solve real problems?” and “How do we give students time in space resources to chase their own dreams?” Whether that means having a business endeavor that they want to see created if it’s a viable option. Or whether they have a community oriented problem that they want to solve. Maybe it’s just an action research project. Johnson says, “Things that normally don’t fall within the school day, we want to create that space for it.”

Here’s how to the school day will work. Students will split their days in half spending half of the day at their comprehensive high school taking core classes and the other half of their day at the Amp Lab bringing their learning to life.

Johnson tells us, the lab exists to create opportunities for students to explore their passions, apply their talents, and to make the community a better place.

“We designed the space to really be one of two things, a resource for students to dive headfirst into the deep end, into a specific area. Or. A place that students can gain skills across the gamut and so each studio serves a different purpose.”

The Amp Lab will house some of the following:

- Grow Studio, a science-based research and development lab with an indoor greenhouse.

- Make Studio where students will be able to create prototypes with equipment such as 3D printing and woodworking.

- Venture Studio is a collaboration lab where students can ideate and brainstorm.

- The Create Studio is for content creators who want to produce music, video, animation and graphic design.

The Fort Wayne Community School’s Amp Lab at Electric Works is set to open August 10th, 2022.

Learn more at Amp Lab at Electric Works website (www.amplabfwcs.com).

Businesses interested in partnering with Amp Lab can contact Johnson at riley.johnson@fwcs.k12.in.us.

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