Grant Date: 2015

ACE Grant: $34,000


ACE was thrilled to award Andover Public Schools (APS) a $34,000 grant to create and enhance “Maker Studios” across all school levels within the APS District. Within just a few short months of awarding the grant, the Maker Spaces came alive and students are engaging in thought provoking, hands-on learning.


The maker studios allow students and faculty to collaborate and engage in hands-on learning related to the robust science, math and arts and literacy curriculum across the district.    Widely noted for self-directed learning and collaboration, maker spaces emphasize learning through making, with innovation and design as the end goal.  The goals of these spaces are threefold:

1.  Foster ingenuity, design, and innovation across APS;

2.  Encourage collaboration across teaching teams in the pursuit of novel curriculum development; and

3.  Drive higher student educational outcomes in reading and math.

“We are so grateful to ACE for funding this effort and allowing our students to experience project-based learning at its best,” said Dr. Sheldon Berman, APS Superintendent. “As a district, we are constantly striving to improve the way our students learn through innovative programs and opportunities to achieve, and these Maker Studios are perfect examples of how we can help our students be successful through hands-on-work. We are lucky to have a partner such as ACE to help achieve our goals.”


The implementation of the maker studios will look different at each of the grade levels.  For the elementary spaces, the maker studios will create open spaces, which will initially be used to facilitate specific curriculum development for the new science and math curricula. Ultimately students will use them as they pursue project-based learning.  At the middle schools, maker studios are an extension of the engineering curriculum.  Students will use the spaces for established projects, before, during and after school.   At the high school, there will be a transformation of building space into a full-fledged Design Innovation Studio where students experience an intense integrated environment for complex problem solving.  This space will include the most sophisticated machinery such as laser cutter and more.

The Maker Studios at the elementary and middle school level are helping to pave the way to more advanced project-based learning programs currently being implemented at the high school level, such as Andover High School’s Innovation Lab, created by APS Director of Digital Learning Joanne Najarian. Through all of the Maker Studios, we are helping prepare our students with the skills they need to excel in a collegiate environment and an ever-changing global economy.

The most recent student project to come out of this lab is the creation of a virtual sandbox, which caught  the attention of Harvard University and was featured at the school’s recent Classroom of the Future event.

“I am continually amazed at the level of insight and sophistication that our students possess and and the Maker Studios amplify this ingenuity and creativity even more,” said Stephen Chinosi, APS Director of Strategic Innovation.

See examples of how our students are using the Maker Studios!  Here is a project list from Bancroft School. Just one of many schools across our district that are finding incredibly creative ways to utilize their spaces.


In all Andover Public Schools