- Associated Press - Monday, October 16, 2017

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) - A redesigned classroom means more than new desks for science instructor Dylan Hager, who directed the changes to his room at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School this summer.

It means the chance to add two new college-credit-eligible classes to the school’s curriculum: Human Body Systems and Principals of Biomedical Science.

“They’re going to be very hands-on, project-based classes, so I specifically wanted the tables to have wheels so we can create different spaces very easily,” he said.

Hager flew out to California to begin the training through Project Lead The Way for the two courses, which will be offered starting next school year.

For now, he and students will be able to teach and learn in his new classroom, which underwent a $99,600 remodel funded by a Massachusetts Life Sciences grant.

The classroom has new desks and movable chairs with backs, unlike the stools students sat in previously. The floor, blinds and fridge were replaced as well.

Hager, who uses two walls to teach, now has whiteboards in two different areas in the room and a smart TV, a large, wall-mounted touch screen that he can hook up to his computer.

“It’s very nice to just be able to move around freely,” he said. “Before, I was a little more claustrophobic.”

Near Hager’s desk is a “big beautiful” sink students can use during experiments and dissections during their anatomy and physiology courses.

Monty Tech Academic Director Christina Faureau said the school had to trim Hager’s “perfect classroom” wish list, but still secured what the students needed.

“In the future, we can build as we go if we need to, but right now I think we have everything,” said Faureau.

This is the school’s third science lab redone using this grant in the past five years. Faureau said the school hopes to secure similar grants in the future.

Students have responded to the update as well, Hager said.

“All my old students from last year keep walking by as their coming out of lunch and they’re like, ‘What is this? This is so unfair,’” he said lightheartedly. “I’m like, ‘I know, sorry.’”

Online: https://bit.ly/2ytRMJm


Information from: Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.), https://www.sentinelandenterprise.com

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