Report by Paula Antolini
January 23, 2017 9:00AM EDT
Photo above: Grand Opening ribbon cutting ceremony at WORKSPACE Education, Inc. on January 17, 2017. Click on ll photos to view larger.
‘WORKSPACE’ Opens in Bethel CT, An Exciting New Innovative State-of-the-Art Education Facility
A most unique education facility, WORKSPACE Education, Inc., has chosen Bethel as their home, and offers a non-traditional form of education for your child.
WORKSPACE Education, Inc. held their grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, as they opened their doors to the public and gave tours of the new education facility. The new business is located in Clarke Business Park, at 16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT.
The vision of WORKSPACE Education is to “build the most vibrant learning community” where children:
-discover who they are
-find their voice
-unleash their passions
-get mad skills
-do enormous projects
-contribute meaningfully to the world
-and create for themselves the Best. Life. Ever.
Photo above: Catherine Fraise, Founder and Executive Director of WORKSPACE Education, Inc.
Catherine Fraise, Founder and Executive Director of WORKSPACE Education, Inc., gave opening remarks on the opening day. She said, “WORKSPACE is the culmination of 30 years of thinking about education and how I can help to have them [children] reach their full potential. I just can’t wait to see what they’re going to be doing in our space.” She thanked many individuals who had worked on this project, and “Everyone who made a dream come true for me,” she said, “They’ve made something pretty miraculous in such a short period of time.” Referring to the new students and parents that were there that day, Fraise said, “We’re a really bonded community and we’re going to make this the best place ever and give the kids the best life ever.”
First Selectman Knickerbocker told the crowd of about 75 people, “I have to tell you that in the seven years I’ve been in office, I’ve had the honor of helping open many new businesses, or being here to celebrate, and this is THE, without exception, THE most innovative new business I have ever seen.”
Knickerbocker thanked Ms. Fraise for bringing this business to Bethel and also thanked Bethel Economic Development Commission Chairman Michael Boyle and Economic Development Director Janice Chrzescijanek for helping in this matter. “They did a lot of work to make this happen,” Knickerbocker said. Knickerbocker also pointed out CT State Representative Will Duff, who was had just begun his first term representing the second district. Knickerbocker said, “I want to recognize Will Duff, our newly elected state representative, who is here to celebrate … and I know that as he begins his new term he will work hard to make small businesses and business start-ups even more successful in our state, because we really need that.”
Consultant Bobbi Jo Beers lead the ribbon cutting ceremony, assisted by Dawn Fawcett of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, where many local officials and children gathered outdoors in front of the building. View video below.
After the ceremony, guests including local officials, headed back indoors to view the many rooms in which WORKSPACE Education hopes to “unleash education” for your children, which is “tailored to the way they learn.” The center is all about personalizing education for your child, different from a “one-size-fits-all” method, they say.
The education facility, with a 32,000 square foot campus, includes over 20 different state-of-the-art “focus areas” which claims to have “created the perfect environment for leaning in the 21st century.” These areas include a research lab, digital publishing, global awareness, entrepreneurship, prototype design, culinary and theater arts, fashion design, interactive game design, CAD, virtual reality, film and music studios, conference center, and so much more.
Each space or focus area is designated by a different wall of individually designed wallpaper in that room, to identify it (see photos above and below). There is also a grid of different color lines on the floor in certain areas so students can follow the lines to get to a designated area if they so choose. In fact, the entire facility is extremely bright and colorfully decorated, lots of lime green, orange, bright blue and yellow, including a huge mural wall upstairs in the main room.
AREAS OF STUDY (according to WORKSPACE):
Future Entrepreneurs: The Entrepreneurial Wing includes an Idea Lab, to enable children to formulate their ideas and take them to fruition. This includes an Entrepreneurial Suite and Math Coding Rooms where children can brainstorm ideas, research and test concepts and develop project plans. This development process includes learning how to present their work to polished professionals similar to those on the TV show “Shark Tank.”
Researching Our World: The Science Area includes a modern research laboratory for all ages, filled with measuring equipment, digital tools and lab supplies enabling research projects and high level science classes. Adjacent to it is the Global Awareness and Problem Solving Area for group study and individual learning, equipped with Geographical Information System (GIS) technology. Here children can pursue the study of global and local environmental modeling, public health, sustainable energy, transportation and infrastructure, climate change, biodiversity and so much more.
The Arts: This includes painting, dance, theater, film and fashion design. There is a Creative Movement Studio with dance floor and mirrors, a fully equipped Arts Studio for large scale work, an Audio Visual Area with a Soundproof Recording Studio, Film and Performance Space, and Instrument Practice Studio. There is even a Costume Shop to help actors and actresses dress the part.
Virtual Reality and Digital Works: This covers digital technologies of all kinds – graphic arts, video and digital publishing, virtual reality, coding and application design. There is a 3D Design and Drafting Lab, where students create 3D renderings of their designs before putting them into production. Coding Hubs for programming development skills, from Ruby-On-Rails to Java, Minecraft, mobile apps and more. The Virtual Reality Room is designed with platforms needed to create astonishing virtual reality experiences.
Authors, Poets, Reporters: A Publishing House is geared to enhance writing talents to produce articles for Workspace’s own digital magazine, or they can write reports, or design their own print publication for distribution.
Building Big (and Small) Things: A Prototype Lab includes professional grade building tools by Bosch, DeWalt, Sharp and Delta, and proper safety equipment and adult supervision too, for children to create models of their projects before producing them in the Great Work Room, designed for children to build big projects such as a solar powered car or a robot for First Lego League. The Maker Space supports the ultimate creator/inventor!
Educational Programming: For those times that call for viewing documentary or other educational programming, the Screening Room is ready with collaboration tables and seating to allow for viewing and discussion sessions.
Social Gatherings and Formal Meetings: Families an children move freely from one activity to the next in the transportation-themed The Hub, for socialization, reading, game playing, surfing the web on free Wi-Fi, or just relaxing. The Material Shop located in The Hub allows parents to purchase commonly used items for children’s projects. The Conference Center on the second floor can hold formal or business events, workshops and other meetings. It is fully equipped with high-tech connectivity, powered conference tables, and three 90″ screens.
Access to WORKSPACE Academy is by approved members and guests only. Doors have locking mechanisms and digital entry cards. Safety and security is a high priority.
Families become part of WORKSPACE Education by applying through an admissions process which includes an application, portfolio review, and an interview.
WORKSPACE Education has use of WORKSPACE Academy Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and you choose the time commitment that is right for your child and family.
WORKSPACE Education Membership benefits include:
-Full use of WORKSPACE Academy for classes, programs and individual study Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
-Exclusive access to their proprietary database of resources, tutors and specialists to help families find educators, and classes.
-Access to their on-staff Dream Director to assist you with the creation of personalized tracks for your children.
-Workshops and training for parents on how to create, source, facilitate and track their child’s personalized learning track.
-A resource base of curricula and options for core and elective classes (of K-12 curricula).
-An annual membership to Project Foundry, a task management software tool to track your children’s classes and progress as well as to create portfolios of their work.
-A network of member families to collaborate with.
-Access to private tutoring rooms.
-Free Wi-Fi throughout WORKSPACE Academy.
-Opportunity to rent a provate workstation, complete with desk, shelving, lockable file cabinet(s), wired internet access to color printers and copiers inside the Family Work Zone.
-Discounted or free admission to a variety of WORKSPACE Education sponsored events.
-Priority access to team-based competitions such as Destination Imagination, Lego League, National History Day, Science Olympiads, The Geography Bee, Debate and Model UN, and more.
Early Adopter* Family Membership (Parents(s) + 1 child) …..$4200 annual
Annual Family Membership (Parents(s) + 1 child) …..$4900 annual
Additional children (3 years and up) ….. $990 annual
Personalized workstation ….. $990 annual
*Available to the first 25 Member Families only.Early Adopter Members receive a reduced annual rate for 3 years – a savings of $2100.
WORKSPACE Education seeks grants to subsidize membership and program costs for low-income families in addition to subsidizing projects that solve real-life problems, especially in the areas of sustainable energy, high density food production, environmental rehabilitation and social justice.
WORKSPACE Education, Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. It is not a school. They describe it as a “community of families and professionals who work together to create the most effective individualized learning tracks for children.” It is a “project-based education center.”
The facility is not accredited, and does not allocate grades or provide transcripts. However family members have access to a wide range of resources including “Project Foundry” to create portfolios of their children’s work while recording their progress.
WORKSPACE Education provides the scaffolding and resources to equip you with the information regarding what colleges require for their admissions process so parents can plan the right education process for their child during their “high school years.”
WORKSPACE Education indicates that colleges are increasingly looking for non-traditional, engaged students with varied and unique interests, coming from outside traditional schools. They claim their students typically enter college with higher SAT/ACT scores and are more likely to graduate. As a result they are increasingly sought out by colleges, they say. WORKSPACE states, a Brown University admissions director states that these children are a good fit with the university because “they have learned to be self-directed, they take risks, they face challenges with total fevor, and they don’t back off.”
WORKSPACE also says, a Dartmouth College admissions director describes the non-traditional students as having “a distinct advantage because of the individualized instruction they have received.”
WORKSPACE Education states: “Today’s secondary school student engagement is declining sharply while college admission departments are more particular than ever about the type of student they accept. Bombarded with cookie cutter applications from students doing simply what is expected of them and for whom the degree is the end, admission officers focus on resourceful, active learners who know how the world works. At WORKSPACE Education, we provide students the tools they need to become self-directed, agile learners in a microcosm of the real world. We focus on connecting students with the right resources, teachers and opportunities to fuel their motivation and engagement which unlocks potential.
**VIEW MORE PHOTOS BELOW. (More video of facility interior coming shortly, check back.):
Click on all photos to view larger.
**All photos and videos and articles are copyright 2017 Bethel Advocate LLC News Media / Paula Antolini and cannot be used without the express permission of Bethel Advocate LLC News Media and/or Paula Antolini.
WORKSPACE Education, Inc.
16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT 06801
Click here for website: WORKSPACE Education, Inc.