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P-12

District : Warsaw Community Schools

State : Indiana

Level : P-12

District Enrollment : 1,001-10,000 students

Community Type : Rural

Related Tags : community engagement, equity

Warsaw Inquiry Learning Laboratory

Warsaw Community Schools (WCS) is a rural school corporation of 7200 students located in northern Indiana. The school corporation has 52% free and reduced population, and a 20% English Language Learner population. Warsaw is known as the Orthopedic Manufacturing Capital of the World, the duck farming capital of the world, and has the largest soy diesel manufacturing plant in the United States. The diverse industry has created a melting pot of diversity and culture exemplified by the 36 native languages within their school system.

The local needs of the community, orthopedic manufacturing, and agricultural industries has propelled WCS to create and incorporate innovative visions for inspiring dreams, enriching the community, technology and STEM education.

The Challenge

Their local industry thrives on creativity, innovation and problem solving. To meet both the local and global employment needs, WCS realized changes of instructional practices needed to take place. Change can always be difficult and the transformational shifts to digital learning and STEM education through Inquiry and Project Based Learning are major undertakings that have happened within Warsaw Community Schools.

The Solution

WCS has a unique partnership with the OrthoWorx foundation. OrthoWorx is a non-profit agency funded through the Eli Lilly Foundation and the local orthopedic companies dedicated to promoting and preserving the local industry through advancements in education and the local community. Through OrthoWorx support, WCS has become a leading school system in implementing Project Lead the Way curriculum. They developed a STEM instructional coaching program, employed community STEM advisors, and a created a long-term strategic STEM roadmap for the corporation.

Through this local collaboration, WCS unveiled a mobile STEM laboratory, W.I.L.L. (Warsaw Inquiry Learning Laboratory) to develop Project Based Learning to all eight elementary schools, train teachers in Project and Problem based technological strategies, and show a visual community commitment to STEM industrial practices. Through its inception, teachers have been able to gain hands-on professional development. Minority and non-traditional students have been exposed to STEM education and technology at an earlier age, through a locally designed curriculum. This mobile STEM laboratory is one of the first in the nation owned solely by a school corporation and developed to meet the local and global industrial needs exemplified in the local economy.

From the U.S. Department of Education:

District Point of Contact

Warsaw Community Schools
Phone: 574-371-5098
E-mail: dhoffert@warsaw.k12.in.us

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