New Maker Space Debuts At AC Prep Elementary

Upgrades are the result of partnership with Heart of America Foundation and AbbVie Foundation

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African-Centered College Preparatory Academy Lower Campus Principal Claire Thornton-Poke and Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bedell react after seeing a new maker space for the first time during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 28 at the school. (PHOTOS BY: Ray Weikal/KCPS)

Kansas City, July 3, 2017:  Kansas City Public Schools, the Heart of America Foundation (HOA) and the AbbVie Foundation unveiled a new educational maker space during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 28 at African-Centered College Preparatory Academy Lower Campus.

About 65 HOA and AbbVie volunteers spent the morning and early afternoon installing the upgrades and new equipment for the maker space. They also organized donated books in the library and helped make repairs to the staff lounge.

The maker space features design elements and equipment carefully chosen to enhance and encourage elementary students at the school to explore hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and math. The donated equipment includes a state-of-the-art 3-D printer.

The project was made possible thanks to significant preparation and resources provided by KCPS, plus funding, planning and work provided by the HOA and AbbVie foundations. The volunteers also donated a new backpack and two books for each student in the school.

After seeing the new maker space for the first time, Principal Claire Thornton-Poke expressed her deep gratitude to everyone involved.

“Learning expands great souls,” she said, quoting a Namibian proverb. “You are all great souls.”

Superintendent Mark Bedell cited the project as a great example of the community partnerships that KCPS is fostering as it makes longterm improvements.

“We know that our students need access to these types of high-tech educational resources if they are going to learn how to succeed in the modern economy,” Dr. Bedell said. “But we can’t do this alone. We need everyone to contribute in order to make the progress that our children deserve.”

African-Centered College Prep focuses on college readiness as well as teaching the rich history of African and African-American people and culture to give students the opportunity to drive their own success. Along with a rigorous college prep academic curriculum, AC Prep teaches the principals of Ma’at and the Nguzo Saba, focusing on self-esteem, empowerment, responsible citizenship, along with the classical views of traditional African society.

The Heart of America Foundation, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC, creates vibrant learning environments for children, engaging volunteers in acts of service and encouraging the pursuit of education by providing children in need with the tools to read, succeed and make a difference. The foundation revitalizes education spaces in under-resourced communities into vital and vibrant centers of learning that become the heart of a school.

The AbbVie Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation, is dedicated to having a remarkable impact on the lives of the underserved around the world through a commitment to building strong communities, sustainable health care systems and effective educational programs.

Visit the KCPS Flickr site for more photos.

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