Haine Middle School’s CIRC Lab receives national award
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Eagle Staff Writer
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April 18, 2018
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Students work on a project in the new Creativity Innovation Research Center Lab at Haine Middle School. The CIRC Lab, created last year through a partnership with the Inventionland Institute, received a bronze medal in the Living, Working and Learning Environment category in the Makerspaces subcategory at the annual Edison Awards.

CRANBERRY TWP — Haine Middle School received a bronze medal for its new Creativity Innovation Research Center Lab at a national contest that honors innovation.

Seneca Valley’s CIRC Lab received a bronze medal in the Living, Working and Learning Environment category in the Makerspaces subcategory at the annual Edison Awards. The winners were announced at a black-tie gala April 11 in New York City.

The Edison Awards is a national competition that recognizes excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design and innovation.

Sean McCarty, assistant superintendent of elementary instruction at Seneca Valley, said recognition like this from another industry is “very gratifying.”

“Recognition such as this demonstrates an investment in children and acknowledges the importance of encouraging creativity and innovation from a young age,” he said.

The CIRC Lab was announced as a finalist in the competition in February. Haine was the only K-12 public school to make the list of finalists.

The Edison Awards, established in 1987, are named after inventor Thomas Edison. Nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee and then by an independent judging panel made up of more than 3,000 professionals.

The CIRC Lab was created last year through a partnership with the Inventionland Institute, the education wing of Pittsburgh-based Inventionland, a company that helps inventors bring their products to market. It was Inventionland’s first immersive classroom design project.

Ken Burk, chief executive officer of the Inventionland Institute, said it nominated Seneca Valley for the award because of the district’s commitment to innovation in schools.

The lab transformed the former library at Haine Middle School into a colorful area with wheeled chairs, tables and desks that can be rearranged to fit various lesson plans. The lab also has a laser printer, green screen technology and a tree house with a slide.

Librarians and technology teachers co-teach in the room where students collaborate on subjects like coding, robotics, engineering, communications and graphic design.

Plans are in the works to create similar spaces at Connoquenessing Valley, Rowan and Evans City Schools in the next year, McCarty said.