Taking risks, positively effecting community and world, “putting one’s self out there” and creatively solving problems – these are basic expectations for Brookwood students. But increasingly, this same “innovator’s mindset” has also been in evidence in Brookwood’s faculty. For the past five years, Brookwood teachers have been exploring the use of innovative and authentic programming to connect students to real life applications of concepts and skills they are learning, and recently, some of this work has begun to “move the needle” in the world of education beyond Brookwood.
An example of this is the work of Rich Lehrer, Brookwood's Innovation Coordinator. "More than ever, young people have the potential to effect change in their schools, communities, and world – by providing our students with opportunities to practice these skills, they have the chance to experience the excitement, messiness, pride, and growth opportunities that come with the iterating of solutions to real life problems," Throughout his 27 years in education, Rich has been committed to the development and implementation of meaningful, engaging, and authentic curriculum and recently, in his role as Innovation Coordinator, has been spearheading a number of Authentic 3D Designing and Printing initiatives that are starting to get some traction, nationally.
A recognized educational leader in the use of Project Based Learning in the classroom, Rich is a National Faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education, a consultant for TeachThought, and facilitator for the Principals’ Training Center. In addition to forming the ground work for Rich’s national and international teacher training initiatives, the work Brookwood students do through this innovative programming provides them with opportunities to refine skills that will serve them well in the future and is beginning to attract media coverage. Additionally, Rich is a sought after speaker who over the past year has been invited to lead a day of engineering focusing on Brookwood’s programming at the New York Hall of Science on February 21, 2017, who spoke at the Google I/O youth conference, and who served as a panelist on the “Making for Good” panel at the World Maker Faire in New York on October 1 and 2, 2016.