GHS InLab: Celebrating Our Year

GHS Innovation Lab Spring/Summer Newsletter: June 2021


It's time to kick back, relax, and celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments from this year in GHS Innovation Lab! Thank you for making this school year one for the history books. CONGRATS to everyone for making it through this wild ride together and best of luck to our Seniors on their next adventure!

The InLab Crew:

Ben, Brian, Courtney, Jessica, Joe, Kathy, Mike, and Rick

Watch Our End of Year Salute!

Thanks to all of our InLab students for a year we will never forget. Click the link above to watch a special send-off video to all of our InLab change-makers!

InLab Celebration Day! June 15, 2021
Explore Innovation Lab Student Blogs

Click above to get a glimpse of what students said about their school year!

Jamie Reflects on the Year:

InLab means a lot to me. It is a family, a welcoming space, and pushes you to become both a better learner and person. Sophomore year I struggled with public speaking and InLab helped me gain confidence with all the amazing presenting opportunities it gave. This year things were a bit different and it was especially hard to do so with hybrid learning. I had to take control of my own learning and find out ways I could stay engaged, motivated, and disciplined at home with the help of my peers and InLab family. The teachers I got to meet and know during my time in InLab will be in my heart and mind as I carry on growing as a person. There are already moments outside of class where I think about what my teachers have shown to me. These little memories are like a mosaic, building up the person I want to be. I am thankful for having such amazing role models to have added to this mosaic.

-- Jamie Martinez, InLab 11th Grade Humanities & STEM

Winners in the Holocaust & Human Rights Center's Art Contest!

Congratulations to our Humanities Students who were honored in the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center's Genocide Awareness & Prevention Art Contest:

Honorable Mention recognitions were also given to Juniors Chelsea Rodas and Lillian Mullen for their art pieces commemorating the Bosnian Genocide through the symbolism of Srebrencia flowers and original art commemorating the cultural genocide of the Uyghur Muslims of China. A donation was made their names to (914) Cares. The HHREC received entries from Westchester, Connecticut, New York City, Illinois and British Columbia, Canada so the fact that we had five students recognized is truly outstanding. Congratulations to our students!

"InLab Reading Rainbow" Children's Book Project

Humanities 10 students created original children’s books that took lessons from historical events such as the AIDS crisis, the L.A. Riots, international interventionism, and Watergate. Students reframed their own understandings for an audience of second grade students at Julian Curtiss School and presented their work to these stakeholders via Google Meet. A special thanks to children's book author and GPS teacher Valerie Bolling and Julian Curtiss Media Specialist Esra Murray for your expertise!

What InLab Means to Me

During freshman year, I recall a presentation that was given during my Global Studies class. We were handed vibrant green sheets of paper that outlined a program called Innovation Lab, or InLab for short. The woman, who would later become my 11th-grade English teacher and 12th-grade Design Studio teacher, Ms. Hawes, presented InLab as a hands-on, school-within-school, project-based program for students looking to creatively expand their academic career. Towards the end of the year, I was told that my counselor had recommended me for the program. She told me about its similarities to the AVID program (which I was recommended for but I couldn’t join due to scheduling conflicts), and I joined without hesitation. The summer before sophomore year, however, I was hit with a wave of nervousness. As with any changes that occur in life, a part of me was frightened of the unknown. Who would be in my class? What would the teachers be like? How would I grow as a result of my time in InLab? Would I grow at all?

Around three years later, I wish I could shake my 14-year-old self by the shoulders and say, “You’ll be great!” Through the mechanics of InLab, I have been able to find a familiar passion I had left behind years ago for my academic studies. I’ve been able to research and create so many new things that would have otherwise stayed outside of my comfort zone if I hadn’t experienced the program. Humanities classes enhanced my skills to question society and its complex building blocks. STEM classes granted me a new love for science and math that I had trouble finding before, as my skills and comprehension in these classes were weaker. Design Studio was an additional creative outlet through the maintenance of personal InLab blogs, where we chronicled our academic endeavors through high school.

I could go on for hours about the amazing ways this program guided my academic and personal growth. I felt like I was seen as not only a student but a person with passions and curiosities. One of the most important skills I’ve developed throughout my time in this program is reflection. From tuning protocols to class discussions to full-fledged reflective essays, I realized the many different forms of reflection. I also realized how frequently it can occur, or should occur if you’re aiming to cultivate this skill. Most importantly, I learned the importance of self-reflection, and always emphasize this skill for myself and others. If you don’t reflect on the past, you’ll never learn how to change in the future.

If the person I was three years ago was off to college now, she’d want to put the past behind her and forget everything. But that person, while never truly gone, has morphed into someone else. The person that I am now knows that while I’ll be moving on to this next chapter of my life, I won’t leave behind what I learned in this program and throughout my high school career. I’ve found great success and happiness through the skills I’ve developed as a near-high-school graduate. I’m intent on continuing the cultivation of these skills not only for myself but for others, in whatever way life takes me.

- Veronica, GHS InLab Class of 2021

Don't Forget About Summer Reading!

Click the link above for details about Summer work & InLab Summer Reading Assignment.

Our Greenwich High School Innovation Lab teachers are passionate about their content and implement cutting-edge learning strategies. Organized into two areas, Humanities and STEM, co-teaching is common and both areas are linked closely to a year-long thematic arc. Teachers also share responsibility for the Design Studio elective. Greenwich High School's Innovation Lab offers a project-based, interdisciplinary option for English and social studies (as Humanities) and/or STEM (science and math). Ninth, tenth and eleventh graders are eligible.

Click here to find out more about our program's philosophy and approach.

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Courtney Hawes, Humanities 9 and 11

Kathy Mendez, Humanities 9 and 11

Michael Belanger, Humanities 10

Jessica von Brachel, Humanities 10

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Rick Baxley (Science Research) and Joe Baske (Social Science Research)

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Innovation Lab Program Administrator: Christina Shaw, Cantor Housemaster (email)

Program Associate: Courtney Hawes (email)

An extra shout out to all of our amazing parents, support staff, custodians, colleagues, and administrators!

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Thanks to the Greenwich Alliance for Education for your continued support! A Reaching Out Grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education supports materials, projects, and the continued professional development of best practices.
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Questions? Comments?

Interested in learning more about GHS Innovation Lab and our PBL approach? Reach out to any of our InLab team members or students.