J.L. Simpson Middle School has been chosen to be the latest site for the Amazon Web Services Think Big Space.
The AWS Think Big Space will be a 2,100-square-foot room for students and teachers to have interactive, hands-on technical education and cloud computing training.
The space will feature an integrated learning environment where everything from the furniture, technology, and curriculum work together. Students and teachers are encouraged to “Think Big” when applying their creativity and imaginations to solve real world problems. In addition, these spaces also promote personalized learning to engage students of all ages, interests, and abilities, according to an announcement from Loudoun Education Foundation.
The space, slated to open later this fall, will serve as an educational lab for students throughout the county, grounded in science, technology, engineering, arts and math or STEAM disciplines. It will also serve as a training hub for educators throughout Northern Virginia.
The program is a collaboration between AWS, Loudoun Education Foundation, CodeVA, and Loudoun County Public Schools.
In 2017, the school division began incorporating computer science curricula across all subject areas in three elementary schools. Since then, according to the release, through a $2.4 million GO Virginia grant, Loudoun educators helped create the Virginia K-12 Computer Science Pipeline which focuses on teaching students computational thinking and problem solving early to prepare students for careers in technology.
Superintendent Scott Ziegler said the school division was thrilled to be selected.
“In recent years, we’ve worked hard to create a true classroom-to-career pipeline, where all students can be inspired and equipped for 21st century jobs. The AWS Think Big Space is another exciting chapter in expanding access to specialized programming, such as computer science education,” Ziegler said in a statement.
LCPS Computer Science Supervisor Nicholas Grzeda will lead the programming and use of the space. He will work with CodeVA which provides free professional learning for Virginia public school educators.
“Loudoun County is a thought leader—and a doer—nationally and in the commonwealth in its pursuit of ensuring computer science literacy for all students,” said Chris Dovi, executive director of CodeVA.
Cornelia Robinson, global leader of Inclusion and Outreach for AWS, said the company is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where their employees live and work.
“We are proud to call Virginia home and have the opportunity to work with local organizations such as Loudoun Public Schools, Loudoun Education Foundation, and CodeVA to collectively help inspire a passion for STEAM education,” Robinson said. She added she hoped the new space at J.L. Simpson Middle school helped students to not only think big but to dream big as well.