Ashley Alfonso, Emily Crosby & Emily Mead
Louisville High School is an all-girls Catholic high school in Woodland Hills. Ashley Alfonso, Emily Crosby and Emily Mead teach mathematics, science and visual arts and are the are co-directors of the Louisville Innovation Lab—a collaborative workspace where students create with 3D printers, laser cutters, a plotter, sewing machines, large monitors with highly efficient computers and a drop-down green screen. They oversaw the design and construction of the space and collaborated with faculty to create ways that the Innovation Lab will support and enhance the curriculum.
Why did Louisville invest in the lab?
“We have done extensive research into how young women learn best. We have also looked at competencies that need to be strengthened in order to position women for future success in jobs we cannot yet imagine. Our primary focus is on developing students’ complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. We wanted to build a space where students could operate outside their comfort zones, confidently take risks and solve real-world problems. We want them to become the creators of our future through invention, design, discovery and engineering.”
Describe a project that will take place in the Innovation Lab.
“The Innovation Lab projects will engage in the design thinking process and expose students to new learning experiences. For example, in order to improve sustainability on campus, environmental science students will use the equipment and resources in the Innovation Lab to build and design wind turbines made from repurposed materials.”
Tell us about your support system.
“Our Innovation Lab is the product of many years of collaborating with other organizations to be experts in the field of women’s education. We are members of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and participated in their Global Forum on Girls’ Education. We also enjoy a partnership with One Schoolhouse, where we have been delivering online courses specifically designed for girls who meet both our mission and our standards of excellence.”
What changes have you made due to COVID-19?
“The global pandemic has had a profound impact on education. Louisville students are currently learning online with both synchronous and asynchronous components. Teachers are very intentional about using these two modes to maximize engagement and learning. We have also expanded our learning management system to add new tools that will support this process, and we have incorporated office hours into the schedule to ensure that students have the support they need and can continue to strengthen their relationships with our faculty.”