Benchmark Holds Grand Opening Celebration for Innovation Lab

MEDIA, PA (November 19, 2018) – After years of planning and months of construction, the Benchmark School community came together on November 8 to celebrate the official grand opening of the school’s $2 million Innovation Lab, a state-of-the-art facility that is expanding Benchmark’s mission to help bright students who have yet to reach their academic potential become confident and strategic thinkers and learners.
During the event, Trustee Greg Coleman and Head of School Robb Gaskins thanked everyone who made the Benchmark School Innovation Lab a reality—from donors to builders and everyone in between, with special kudos given to the Innovation Lab’s acclaimed designers and Benchmark School alumni Bill Sharples (Benchmark ’77) and Chris Sharples (Benchmark ’77) of SHoP Architects in New York City, as well as Benchmark parent and Trustee Jim Viner for his extensive oversight of the construction project.
“The completion of the Innovation Lab was truly a team effort, and the project would not be the success that it is without the tireless efforts of a great many dedicated and talented people,” Gaskins said. “Our goal was to create a dynamic, hands-on, and interdisciplinary learning environment filled with a rich assortment of digital and physical tools that would enable our students to explore, design, and create while honing their skills related to critical thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, and leadership, and I think we’ve met that goal.” 
Following a champagne and dessert reception, all guests—including alumni and alumni parents, current parents, staff, trustees, friends, and representatives from SHoP Architects, Cicada Architects, W.S. Cumby Builders & Construction Managers, and NorthStar Owners Representation—had the opportunity to participate in an interactive Innovation Lab experience. With stations ranging from maker projects (cardboard building, littleBits, tech deconstruction) to Dash & Dot robots, stop motion, brainstorming questions, the usage of the 3D design app Morphi, and the showcasing of projects created in the lab by Benchmark students, the evening offered the community an opportunity to experience “making thinking visible”—the kind of experience that is especially appropriate for Benchmark’s bright, inquisitive students who learn differently.

“It’s been exciting to see both faculty and students alike forsee the endless possibilities for curriculum-centered and future-oriented projects that will take place in our new artfully-crafted Innovation Lab,” said Benchmark School’s Director of Innovation Emma Mattesky.
Though the structure is new, innovative, research-based teaching and learning strategies have been employed at Benchmark since its founding in 1970. The Benchmark School Innovation Lab supports the school’s instructional efforts related to design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In collaboration with Benchmark teachers, Mattesky works with students in the Innovation Lab to help them explore, design, think creatively, identify and solve problems, bridge concepts across domains, develop a growth mindset, and hone their skills related to critical thinking, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership through the use of a wide range of tools and technologies. 
For more details about the Benchmark School Innovation Lab, please click here.

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About Benchmark School

Benchmark School, located at 2107 N. Providence Road, Media, Pa., is an independent, not-for-profit day school serving students in grades 1-8. Founded in 1970, the school is committed to helping bright students who have yet to reach their academic potential become confident and strategic thinkers, learners, and problem solvers who meet with success in school and life. For more information about Benchmark School, please call 610-565-3741 or visit