Just two years in since Fairfield College Preparatory School’s cutting edge McLeod Innovation Center opened its doors, student programming there has become a central feature of education at the school. McLeod Innovation Center, a generous donation of Chris (’73) and Elaine McLeod, is dedicated to promoting invention literacy within the spirit of the school’s Jesuit education program. It combines a holistic approach to learning through hands-on activities, critical thinking and problem solving with a focus on world improvement and innovation at its core.
Through programs at the Center, students are taught to be agents of change. “It equips students with the skills and mindset needed to thrive in an era of rapid change and uncertainty,” says Dr. Rinat Levy Cohen, director of innovation at Fairfield Prep. She comes to the school with a Ph.D. from Fordham University and a host of credentials and experience in education, human development and educational technology. “The program’s Jesuit mission of making the world a better place directly aligns with the school’s motto. It instills a sense of social responsibility in students, inspiring them to use their knowledge and skills to address real-world problems and effect positive change.”
One key aspect is the program’s adaptability, so the Center, and the students, can be at the heart of future real-world positive change. Students often focus their attention on current events. For instance, in response to last year’s events like the earthquakes in Turkey, the innovation team added a lesson and a lab project to the “Introduction to Innovation and Digital Fabrication” course curriculum, in which students were specifically taught about seismic waves and their implications in the context of these earthquakes. In this course, students used cutting-edge technology, such as 3D printers and laser cutters to design earthquake-proof buildings. Says Dr. Levy Cohen: “This hands-on, innovative approach not only imparts practical knowledge but also encourages critical thinking and problem-solving.”
In addition to technical proficiency and social consciousness, programs at the Center are meant to instill a mindset of lifelong learning and innovation. “Students recognize that education is an ongoing journey and must continuously adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities in adulthood,” says Dr. Levy Cohen. “This mindset equips them to lead purposeful and impactful lives by embracing change and seeking continuous self-improvement.”
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Fairfield College Preparatory School
1073 North Benson Rd., Fairfield, CT