Berwick Academy • 31 Academy Street • South Berwick, Maine 03908 • 207.384.2164
Berwick Innovation Center
While technically housed in the Jackson Library, the Berwick Innovation Center (BIC) is an organic and evolving program that reaches far beyond the physical Berwick Academy campus. BIC virtually has no bounds and possesses unlimited potential to drive our students into the 21st century!
The Berwick Innovation Center was originally conceptualized in 2008 by the school’s Administration. The first year of Innovation projects were during the 2009-2010 school year. For the inaugural Innovation Celebration, we had four students present: one from the Middle School and three from the Upper School. During the following year, the program grew exponentially to thirteen projects. In the 2011-2012 school year, we had seventeen projects from both the Middle and Upper Schools. The 2012-2013 school year was the first to include the Lower School and we had 39 students from all three divisions participating!
BIC offers our students a way to articulate an intellectual passion, serves as a strong addition to the college application, and allows students to follow their interests and engage themselves in creative and imaginative projects. The Berwick Innovation Center seeks to be nationally known as a leader in 21st century education and is, in part, financially supported through a generous grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation along with other dedicated endowed funds.
The Berwick Academy Innovation Center is a supplemental program designed to help meet the creative and intellectual needs of our students in all three divisions. This program offers an opportunity for these students to pursue a mentor-supported area of study about which the student holds a strong interest or curiosity. We seek student proposals that reflect a clear passion for the subject matter, a realistic framework for pursuit, a reasonable support system proposal and a defensible opportunity for demonstration of the project or area of study.
Innovation projects are completely student-driven and student-directed endeavors. The subject choice is dependent upon each individual student’s passion. Student inquiry is personalized and the outcome is deeper learning and a greater appreciation of the topic.
Examples from previous years include Persephone Bennett’s study of sericulture. Sephie raised silk worms, harvested cocoons, and created a silk design. In another Innovation project, Daniel Perreault created a voice recognition application for a smart phone. Dan was mentored by engineer Michael Glover from Google in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Noah Landis explored “Wind Power on the Hilltop” and was mentored by BA faculty member, Mr. Jon Davie. Hersh Bhargava, mentored by Middle School Director Dr. Rosemary Zurawel, explored the differences in teaching methods and characteristics of education on a global scale. To accomplish this, Hersh Skyped with students from all over the world.
As you can “C”, Innovation projects directly foster and instill the skills required in 21st century education. Students conduct original research and critically think about new ways to problem solve. Each Innovation project includes creative elements of originality. Students collaborate and make connections with other experts in their fields, and Innovation students strengthen communication skills and share their projects outside of the BA community. And it all begins with student choice!
Innovation Projects are not independent studies!
Mentor collaboration is a crucial element of every project and the
Innovation Coordinators will assist in the mentor-pairing process.
Applications to this program are competitive and are limited in number.
Applications may be obtained in the Jackson Library or downloaded from the Berwick Academy website. Students will complete the application, obtain parent and advisor signatures, and submit the application to either Darcy Coffta or Melissa Williams in the Jackson Library.
The following timetable should be used as a guide by Upper School applications:
September 19 - deadline for applications for the fall season
December 5 - deadline for applications for the winter season
April 2 - deadline for applications for the spring season
Upper School students may submit an application for any of the three seasons (fall, winter or spring) and will receive activity credit for their successful completion of a season of Innovation Study.
Middle School students submit an application in the fall for a project to be completed over the winter and spring. Weekly activity time will be devoted to project work and students will be able to meet with mentors or work collaboratively in the library.
Innovation Celebration - Knowledge is shared, connections are made and conversation abounds!
The Innovation Celebration, held in May, is an opportunity to highlight and showcase student work completed throughout the year. Students present their projects and panelists invited from the fields of education, the arts, science and technology, critique the presentations and offer constructive feedback on the student’s work. The Innovation Celebration is open to the community.
Berwick Innovation Center in the Lower School
“Connecting Curriculum to Exhibition”
Three Fundamental Connections
Innovation Jr. Club
4th Grade Innovation
Something Special for the Lower School!
The power of play and explorative fun!
Innovation Jr. is an afterschool enrichment program available to students in grades 1-4. Following a club model, Innovation Jr. will meet weekly from October through March and students will collaborate and creatively problem-solve while working on projects led by a session-mentor.
Innovation Jr. meets on Tuesdays, from 3:15-4:30, and is broken down into four 4-week sessions. Each session will have a specific focus and be facilitated by a “Session Mentor.” Possible session topics include a focus on the arts, mathematics, robotics, etc.
The four sessions will run from October 29-November 19, November 26-December 17, January 7-28, and February 4-25. On Tuesday, March 4th, we will have a mini “Innovation Jr. Celebration” where kids from all four sessions will come to the Jackson Library and talk about their projects and accomplishments with parents, session mentors, and guests!
BIC for the 4th Grade!
The Lower School Innovation program is available to students in grade 4 and will follow the successful completion of the Innovation Project assignment completed by all fourth graders in February under the guidance of their homeroom teacher. Students may elect to continue their in depth exploration of their Innovation Project topic by collaborating with Lower School Innovation Coordinator to take their project to a deeper level of inquiry.
The session runs from March 25-May 13, 2014 and students will continue to meet on Tuesdays, from 3:15-4:15 with the “Innovation Mentor.” This model will allow for the “Innovation Mentor” to oversee various projects and Ms. Jennifer Brewer will coordinate 4th grade Innovation program.
Students will prepare and present their projects at the annual Innovation Celebration held in May. Mentor will support student-presentations.
|The Jackson Library has a database of community members and their professional interests in supporting innovative projects. Occasionally, a student may have an interest beyond the scope of current faculty. In that case, the coordinators will try to solicit mentors from the greater community, which may include local universities, industries, or professional groups.|
|If you have any questions about the Berwick Innovation Center, or have an idea for a project that you would like feedback on, please fill out this general inquiry form. One of our program directors will contact you at their earliest convenience.|
Library (US, MS, LS)
Middle School Librarian, MS Innovation Coordinator
Library (US, MS, LS)
Upper School Librarian; Director of Innovation
Library (US, MS, LS)
Library Director and LS Librarian
3rd Place Winner in the Follett Challenge
Innovation Students Speak