Presenting at NCGS Conference: Sharing Foxcroft's Approach to “Education Innovation”

In late June, two Foxcroft groups presented at the National Coalition of Girls Schools’ annual conference. This year’s theme, “Education Innovation: Building Cultures of Creativity,” was the perfect platform to showcase the engaging ways Foxcroft students are learning, both in and out of the classroom.
Foxcroft's STEM Department Chair Maria Evans, Ph.D., and alumnae Lilly Savin ’16 and Guen Geiersbach ’17, together with Head of School Cathy McGehee, presented on the integration of Purdue University’s EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) curriculum into Foxcroft's STEM courses. Director of Educational Technology Alex Northrup, Amara B. ’19, and Kenzie G. ’20, all members of the Space to Innovate team behind the makerspace renovation in the Science Wing of Schoolhouse, presented on the process of researching, prototyping, and presenting a detailed proposal of the maker space to Foxcroft administrators. Read student reports from both groups below.

EPICS at Foxcroft
by Guen Geiersbach ’17

Lilly Savin ’16 and I attended the National Coalition of Girls Schools Conference, along with Dr. Evans, to share our experiences about the engineering program offered to students at Foxcroft. We presented to teachers and administrators about ways the EPICS (Engineering Programs in Community Service) engineering class at Foxcroft is run, both from a logistical standpoint as well as our personal experiences in working with the program.
 
Before the conference, Dr. Evans, Lilly, and I talked about some of the intentional and wonderful outcomes of the class. Due to the immense amount of collaboration necessary to accomplish every task in the class, our communication skills were challenged and further developed. Furthermore, working with a group as well as with an organization in the community for a semester builds a group dynamic that makes each student accountable and proud of her own work; but more importantly, the work of her classmates.
 
While most classes have final exams where students can note the amount of material covered in the course, the final result of our semester-long engineering class was a tangible object and project that would positively impact the lives of others in the community. Just as I would recommend this course to all other students, this conference allowed us to spread the word about just how impactful this class can be on both schools and communities alike.

Maker Space Project Puts Student Innovation on Display at NCGS Conference
by Kenzie G. ‘20

On Monday, June 26, two students from the Space to Innovate executive committee, Amara B. ’19 and myself, gave a presentation at the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) Conference, alongside Foxcroft Director of Education Technology Alex Northrup. During our presentation, we discussed the importance of having student-led projects in school settings.

For those who may not be familiar with the Space to Innovate project at Foxcroft, it was launched at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year for students to create and design a makerspace for the School community.

Over the course of last school year, the Space to Innovate group has visited makerspace in Virginia, met with maker experts, and discussed plans for the space in the Science Wing of Schoolhouse with an architect and Foxcroft Business Manager, Deborah Anderson. In addition to this, in the spring, several members of the Space to Innovate group presented on our progress over the year and our plans for the space. By the end of the school year, the team had created a comprehensive plan for the space. Our new makerspace will be open at the start of the coming school year.

These presentations became the basis for the presentation that we gave at the NCGS conference. We discussed the progress we had made this year, the challenges we faced, the accomplishments achieved, and how much we learned during our time spent on the project. After the presentation, there were many questions, and we were even invited to give another presentation next spring at the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools conference.

Through our presentation at the NCGS Conference, we wanted to inspire other schools to give students a chance to lead projects and create makerspaces — and, based on the positive feedback we received, I think we were able to do just that.
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.