In honor of the dedication of The Tom Hoerr Innovation Lab, our Director of Advancement, Shannon Reynolds, chatted with Tom.
The Tom Hoerr Innovation Lab
The Tom Hoerr Innovation Lab is New City’s newest classroom. The Innovation Lab consists of 2,500 square feet of adaptable classroom space with tools and materials for students to build, tinker, and dream. This bright, airy, and inspiring classroom is located in the old boiler room, on the south side of the building, under the 1st Grade wing.
The classroom space is dedicated to STEAM concepts and Multiple Intelligences (MI) curricula. The space is named in honor of Tom Hoerr, New City’s longest-serving head of school, who lead New City from 1981 – 2015. Tom was the driving force behind New City’s adoption of an MI-based curriculum in the 1980s, which continues, to this day, to be integral to New City’s mission.
The Tom Hoerr Innovation Lab reinforces New City’s commitment to technology and science programming, as well as provides opportunities for children to construct, build, tinker, and design for change. This all-ages classroom is a natural extension of the school’s commitment to Multiple Intelligences education and will allow students to experience success and failure, develop grit and resiliency, and come up with creative solutions to design challenges. Curriculum for the Innovation Lab not only emphasizes STEAM concepts, but also encourages skills that are at the heart of the New City School experience and education; empathy, compassion, and teamwork.
The Tom Hoerr Innovation Lab has movable tables, tools, a 3D laser cutter, 3D printers, a sewing machine, and other materials. It also features a full kitchen, which will be used in conjunction with New City’s on-campus vegetable garden to incorporate lessons on nutrition and food science and to allow classes to cook dishes together using produce that the students have helped grow and harvest.
At the dedication, Alexis Wright, Head of School remarked, “In the early stages of designing this new classroom it seemed only fitting that it be named in honor of New City’s longest serving head. I can’t tell you how special it is to have a piece of the school named after Tom, particularly given his dedication and devotion to this institution we all know and love.”
He went on to say, “The curriculum we develop will be an exemplar of what education should be – hands on and interdisciplinary, and focused on solving complex problems in a collaborative fashion. It is excited to think of the discoveries and opportunities that will exist for our children, not only those enrolled here, but also students who will partake in summer programming that we will have available in the future.”
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the talented faculty at New City have found ways to introduce the Lab and adjacent kitchen to our students.