Over the last number of weeks, this newsletter column has focused on the tenets of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate.  We’re going to take a pause from that theme for a few weeks to feature some exciting developments related to the School’s campus that will provide the physical space to support the development of student skills that are part of the Portrait.

When Roycemore School acquired and renovated 1200 Davis to serve as its new home, moving from a leased property on the campus of Northwestern University in 2012, it left one space purposely unfinished to be dedicated to the future needs of Roycemore’s students.   Many of us know it as “Room 200” which is a 6,000 sq. ft. space on the second floor above the existing library and administrative wing.  It currently serves as a “warehouse” for extra furniture and storage, as well as a space for painting sets and working on projects. In January 2020, a high school junior, Hanu S., embarked on an independent January Short Term (JST) project to learn about architecture.  He enlisted a current parent who is an architect to serve as his project director and together they developed a plan for a makerspace.  They even partnered with middle school student, Aidan S., who had focused on the development of room 200 as part of his Personal Passion Project (P3).  A presentation was given to the Roycemore Board of Trustees to transform room 200 into an innovation and makerspace that can serve multiple purposes and a prototype was created for consideration.  

A makerspace is a collaborative work space that uses high-tech to no tech tools.  These spaces may house a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, CNS routers, table saws, soldering irons, and even sewing machines.  A makerspace can also include cardboard, legos, and art supplies.  At the core, they are all places for making, collaborating, learning, and sharing. They provide hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) experiences that are critical for students to gain important problem solving, design, and prototyping skills.

Hanu and Aidan made a compelling case for dedicating room 200 to an innovation/ makerspace as it aligns with Roycemore’s leadership and vision for the future of education. Within weeks of their presentation, however, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the project had to be put on hold.  Hanu will soon commence his undergraduate education at MIT (majoring in architecture!), however, Aidan is now a freshman in Roycemore’s Upper School. Aidan and his peers have the opportunity to see this vision fulfilled and benefit from the opportunities of an Innovation Center during their high school career.

The Innovation Center Campaign will advance Roycemore’s commitment to STEAM opportunities for students and support the vision of our Portrait of a Graduate. The development of this space fulfills the untapped potential of Roycemore’s campus as well as the teachers and students who work together on campus. 

In June, we announced that the Board of Trustees has approved moving forward with developing an Innovation Center at the School. We envision activities taking place in the Innovation Center for all age groups whether the activities are extensions of classroom investigations, part of an independent study, connected to clubs, or part of our E.A.G.L.E. programming.

Roycemore’s E.A.G.L.E. program (Empowering All Griffins to Learn Experientially) reinforces our student-centered approach to innovation. The development of Portrait of a Graduate power skills is incorporated into E.A.G.L.E. programs which include Theme Week, Personal Passion Projects (P3), and January Short Term (JST)–now in its 50th year.  In the years ahead, the E.A.G.L.E. approach will inform more and more of the student learning experiences so that they are authentic and robust. Today Roycemore faculty embrace a number of practices that offer unique opportunities for students including video conferencing with experts from around the world, utilizing design thinking as a problem-solving approach, teaching mindfulness to reduce stress and enhance mind-body awareness, and accessing the rich expertise of Northwestern University faculty through our partnerships.

In the years ahead, E.A.G.L.E. programs will expand to include student-created courses, global experiences, tech-maker innovation classes, and global problem-solving summits.

Next week we’ll share more specifics about what is envisioned for the Innovation Center.


In partnership for the education of your children,

Adrianne Finley Odell

Head of School