PORTLAND — A city middle school and a global leader in veterinary equipment are teaming up to remake two classrooms.
Lyman Moore Middle School and Westbrook-based IDEXX Laboratories are partnering with the goal of increasing student exposure to STEM studies – science, technology, engineering and math.
IDEXX is donating $18,000 in technology, equipment and supplies, and over 300 hours of volunteering time, to update two of the school’s science classrooms.
Lyman Moore Principal Steve Rogers said IDEXX reached out to the school last spring, looking to give back to the community. He said some parents of former students work at IDEXX, so it was a natural connection.
“The important thing for us as a school is connecting different content areas, so science and technology and engineering are all grouped into one here, and we work hard to make our learning meaningful by bringing in real stuff that people do in the adult world,” Rogers said.
He said the donation broke down to about $15,000 in equipment and $3,000 in manpower. Volunteers came in over the summer to paint the classrooms, replace furniture, install window shades and bring in new equipment.
The renovated classrooms wills allow teachers to have access to technology like panoramic SMART boards, projectors, digital teaching microscopes that can project onto the SMART boards, document cameras, lab resources, and skeletons for anatomy. IDEXX scientists and community veterinarians will assist and guide the classes as they study canine and feline biology.
Rogers said the classrooms are up and running, with high-powered equipment that makes the students feel like “real scientists,” because they’re working in an adult space.
“The kids are just loving the new environment and new equipment,” Rogers said. “And of course kids at this age love to do things they know adults do. When they can act like adults and they’re learning, it kicks in better.”
This might not be a one-off partnership, either. Rogers said it was “just the beginning” and they’re already in talks of expanding to the remaining science classrooms.
“So we are potentially looking at over the course of the next couple years doing all six science classrooms,” he said.
Rogers called the partnership a “win-win.”
“They (IDEXX) get to give back as they want,” he said, “… and all of our kids will benefit from it.”