BOLTON - Students at the Florence Sawyer Middle School in Bolton now have a brand new computer lab, thanks to a unique partnership with Minuteman High School.
Officials from the two schools cut a ceremonial ribbon recently to mark the opening of the new lab, which is part of Minuteman’s Middle School Technology Outreach Program.
“We’re very grateful to the partnership with Minuteman,” said Sawyer School Principal Joel Bates. “This new lab gives students a practical experience that is engaging. It brings the 21st century into the classroom in a middle school.”
“I love it,” agreed student Quinn Hart, a seventh grader at the school. “With the new technology we can do a lot more.”
As part of its effort to reach out to middle school students in its district, Minuteman committed more than $30,000 to provide Florence Sawyer with 24 computers, a 3D printer, a laptop computer, and week-long teacher training. The lab itself is operated by Minuteman Middle School Outreach teacher Mary Mullahy and serves students in grades 5-8.
The students are taught using curriculum provided by Project Lead the Way, a national organization that promotes learning in applied design and engineering.
On a Thursday morning in late September a group of seventh-grade students was busy in the lab working on the design of a brace to help individuals with foot and ankle problems. They were designing the brace on their new computers and then creating a small model of it on the classroom’s new 3D printer.
Minuteman officials attending the groundbreaking included School Committee member David O’Connor from Bolton, Principal Jack Dillon, Assistant Principal George Clement, and Career and Technical Education Director Michelle Roche.
“We’re very happy to see these middle school students putting the new lab to good use,” said Ms. Roche, the Minuteman administrator who advocated for the new equipment and Project
Lead the Way curriculum. “It’s experiences like these – practical experiences – that make a big difference in a child’s education.”
Minuteman operates three other Middle School Outreach programs. The others are located at the Hale Middle School in Stow, the R.J. Grey Junior High School in Acton, and the Luther Burbank Middle School in Lancaster. The programs in Stow and Lancaster also follow the Project Lead the Way curriculum.
At all four schools, the teachers are hired by Minuteman and supervised jointly by Minuteman and the middle school administration. Each individual program receives a budget for supplies and professional development. The host communities are assessed 100% of the operational cost for the program.
Minuteman High School is located in Lexington. It is one of more than two dozen regional-vocational technical high schools where students get high-quality career and technical education, combined with rigorous academics. Over the years, Minuteman has distinguished itself by building a reputation for excellence.
Minuteman’s technical offerings encompass more than a dozen high-tech career majors in rapidly growing fields, including Biotechnology, Engineering Technology, Programming & Web Development, Health Assisting, Early Childhood Education & Teaching, Culinary Arts, Electrical, Carpentry, Welding & Metal Fabrication, Automotive Technology, Design & Visual Communications, and Horticulture & Landscaping Technology.