Partnering Industry and Education for Real-World Learning
The 250-student Waukee Innovation and Learning Center (WILC) is a comprehensive educational experience for students in the Aspiring Professional Experience (APEX) program at Waukee High School near Des Moines, Iowa. The program is an example of how businesses and our educational system can work together to produce personalized learning experiences that prepare the next generation of professionals for 21st century opportunities. The center will provide a wide range of spaces that support different modalities of learning; from individual learning experiences to collaborative opportunities for learning and community gatherings. Curriculum will be supported by the facility while focusing on the five strands: Business and Finance, Engineering, Technology, Health Services, and Biosciences and Added Value Agriculture, and will provide students with the opportunity to explore professions of interest through a problem-based, inquiry learning method. Through the design process, our goal is to highlight Iowa innovation and their entrepreneurial spirit while illuminating what is uniquely Waukee.
The design process was comprehensive, involving our full school community, and requiring participants to stretch their thinking. Everyone was engaged in thinking outside the box to create new and unique learning spaces that represent what our students will experience in the private sector and beyond! I was extremely pleased with the process and end result and am confident our students and communities will benefit for years to come.
David J. Wilkerson, Ph.D.