As we have looked for a location for our school over the past year, we have had many ideas and options come our way. When the suggestion of being in the Idiya Maker Space (the first in NOLA) was made to us from multiple trusted advisors, we had to check it out! After meeting with their staff, spending time with the property managers of our block, Green Coast Enterprises, and touring the facility, we realized that this space would provide two key things we were looking for in a location.
First, we wanted to be in a space that allowed our students to get the real-world hands-on experience that is a core aspect of our school. For us, that meant finding a space that would not look like a traditional classroom and where our students would be able think in an innovative manner even when it came down to our studio space. The opportunities that our students will have in the Idiya location allow them to take project based learning to a whole new level. The idea of rapid prototype becomes a reality. The experience with state of the art software and machinery such as laser cutters, 3D printers and a woodworking shop, provide our students with exposure to things that most students their age never know.
Second, we diligently worked to be in a space that fostered the idea of community that is at the heart of who we are. Being in the Idiya space, we are not only joining their community, we are also joining the vibrant growing Broadmoor community that surrounds us. We have spent countless hours meeting with our community partners and the enthusiasm and welcome we have received has been humbling. The Broadmoor Arts and Wellness Center and the Rosa Keller Library have enthusiastically offered their support and encouragement! This excitement has been contagious and all of this was confirmed in our Kick Off Event on August 10, 2015.
Our Kick Off Event was created with a few goals in mind. We wanted our enrolled families to see our new facility, feel comfortable and informed regarding safety and procedures for our location and be excited about the possibilities of what their students can accomplish in this space! Additionally, we wanted to show that this was not only about NOLA Micro Schools but that this was about the community in which we are joining. We were thrilled by the turnout! We had over 75 people, 15 community partners and 20 kids there to celebrate and support all of us. We had a brief (at least we tried to be brief!) welcome ceremony where four community partners shared their role in the neighborhood and their enthusiasm in welcoming us to this community. Will Bradshaw from Green Coast Enterprises shared their approach and development in the community and excitement for us being a few doors down. Elaine Looney, Education Corridor Program Director of Broadmoor Improvement Association spoke about safety and collaboration with our new community. Domenic Giunta with Idiya announced our partnership in his maker space and shared with attendees about the tools and opportunities that exist in this space. Lastly, Matt Candler with 4.0 Schools shared how NOLA Micro Schools got started, with a conversation on a Mardi Gras ladder two years ago, and the passion, vision and need that went in to making this a reality. 
At the end of the evening, we all cheered on the kids who had come try out their egg drop experiment. Students anxiously watched as their creations were dropped from the rooftop and ran to see if their egg had cracked. This was a great way to end the evening. We started with our students working on a project and ended with them testing out their handiwork. That's what all of this is about. Letting our kids try challenging things. Some eggs survived with flying colors. Some cracked. Students got to see learn about hard work and failure. Our job is to set the foundation for them to evaluate those experiences and determine how they move forward, learn from those experiences and come out better problem solvers and critical thinkers. 
This event provided great momentum and excitement to prepare us for our first day of school! We look forward to seeing the amazing things our students learn and accomplish, and we are thankful to have such amazing community partners to guide our students throughout this year. 
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