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Public Education Foundation and Hamilton County Schools announce the next nine schools to open Volkswagen eLabs in the community. On May 5, the partners announced a $5.3m grant to PEF to continue growing the VW eLab network.

After a rigorous selection process involving stakeholders from numerous community partners, the following schools have been selected to open the next round of VW eLabs: Alpine Crest Elementary, Calvin Donaldson Elementary, Daisy Elementary, East Lake Academy, East Ridge Middle School, East Side Elementary, Harrison Bay Future Ready Center, Wallace A. Smith Elementary and Westview Elementary.

Officials said, "VW eLabs are vibrant learning spaces, granting students access to digital fabrication technology including microcomputers, renewable energy kits, 3D printers, robotics and laser cutters. The new labs will open in August and will join a network of 36 other HCS schools featuring VW eLabs (comprising the largest Fab Lab network in the world, according to the official registry at the Fab Foundation from MIT)."

“Thanks to this investment, 3,000+ Hamilton County students will have daily access to a VW eLab, where they will learn critical skills that prepare them for the careers of the future. PEF is honored to be deeply involved with this work and to partner with VW and Hamilton County Schools,” said Dr. Dan Challener, president of Public Education Foundation.

“We are grateful to PEF and their partners for collaborating with us to bring the innovative opportunities of VW eLabs to more Hamilton County schools,” said HCS Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson. “We have seen our students empowered to put their learning into action, growing content knowledge along with valuable skills and habits to help them thrive in school and beyond. The continued expansion of the VW eLab network helps our students grow as solutions-oriented, community-involved learners. The launch of these new VW eLabs will help us meet our Opportunity 2030 commitments to the community that Every Student Learns, Every Student Belongs, Every School is Equipped, and Every Community is Served.”

Officials said, "The innovative learning model fosters technical fluency and nurtures essential professional skills like perseverance and critical thinking. It also provides a platform where students engage in design challenges focused on sustainability and responsible design, tackling environmental remediation head-on."

"VW eLabs have earned international recognition for effective student development,” said Michael Stone, vice president of innovative learning at PEF. “The visionary model, developed with HCS teachers, principals and system leaders, prepares students for today's jobs while honing the skills required to create the jobs of tomorrow. It is a truly forward-thinking approach to learning.”

Officials said, "PEF continues to play an important role in this multi-year partnership by collaborating with HCS officials and Volkswagen representatives to provide training, research and resources to teachers, principals and schools. The thriving partnership has fueled the development and expansion of the VW eLab network since 2017, when Volkswagen and the State of Tennessee made an initial $1M investment that resulted in the first labs in the district.

PEF and HCS Partnership Leads to Continued Growth of VW eLabs; 9 More HCS Schools to Open VW eLabs in August

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