New PSD Futures Lab project kicks off with student programs next school year

Poudre School District is excited to announce that its Futures Lab project is set to launch inaugural programming in the 2019-20 school year.

Through the Futures Lab project, PSD’s goal is to offer students programs and pathways to pursue passions in an applied learning environment that complements and enhances PSD’s long-standing and robust college and career-readiness programs.

“All students will have the opportunity to deepen their learning, innovate, develop hard and soft career skills, and earn industry-recognized credentials so they can graduate prepared to succeed in a changing world,” said Scott Elias, PSD’s director of innovative learning environment design and Futures Lab project lead.

The inaugural programs being offered next school year will include Entrepreneurship, MobileMakersEDU™ iOS App Development, Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) and an Advanced Placement Seminar. These inaugural courses are open to all PSD juniors and seniors and will take place at Fort Collins High School, a temporary location until a permanent facility is determined.

As the project continues to evolve, details about programming will be shared through work-based learning coordinators and counselors at high school sites.

“This programming is available to all learners,” Elias said. “This is for the student who knows they want to go to college and would like to dig deep into an area of interest. It’s for the student who wants to be prepared to step right into the workforce, and it’s for the student who’s like I was and isn’t quite sure what they want to do after high school. 

“We want to make sure kids know it’s okay not to have everything figured out and to have the opportunity to explore careers focused on what they are good at and passionate about.” 

PSD anticipates student enrollment among the inaugural programs to be up to 100 students in the 2019-20 school year. High school students participating in Futures Lab project programming will earn credit while remaining enrolled in their home school. While the initial programming will be targeted to juniors and seniors, plans are to expand options to all high schoolers.

“Here in Northern Colorado, it’s important for us to grow our own talent for today and the future. We are really excited as we hear some of the initial plans for the Futures Lab project and about how it will add to the tools and opportunities being provided by PSD to students,” said Mark Driscoll, Colorado market president at First National Bank of Omaha and a community leader passionate about education. These kids are our community’s next generation of workers, neighbors and leaders.”  

Futures Lab project programming is slated to expand in the 2020-21 school year. PSD is also planning for the Futures Lab project to eventually provide opportunities for students in grades PreK-8 to extend their classroom learning through participation in field trips and other unique experiences.


Start-up funding from Poudre School District Foundation

The District is pleased to share that the nonprofit Poudre School District Foundation will provide $70,000 in startup funding to the Futures Lab project to launch the MobileMakersEDU™ iOS App Development program. This donation will cover initial implementation costs, from curriculum development to teacher training. This is the first financial commitment to the Futures Lab project. 

“The PSD Foundation Board is thrilled to provide the initial funding to get this innovative program off the ground. We believe this investment ties beautifully into our mission to inspire community investment in student learning experiences. Our hope is that our involvement inspires others to further support this programming,” Foundation Executive Director Gary Rogers said. “We know programs like this benefit not only our students, but also our local businesses and the greater community.” 

PSD is seeking multiple sources of funding for this program. All projects included in the original 2016 bond program will be fully funded. The Futures Lab project will not divert funding from the $40 million in planned improvements to existing PSD schools, or the construction of three  new schools, an athletics complex and transportation maintenance facility.


PSD accepting name suggestions for the Futures Lab project

As PSD launches the Futures Lab project in the 2019-20 school year, PSD is asking for community input on an official name for the new project. To suggest a name, please submit this short suggestion form by 4 p.m. Friday, March 1. 
Name suggestions will be considered by a naming committee, which will consist of a cross-representative group of PSD community members. The naming committee will make a recommendation to the superintendent, and the Board of Education will approve a name for the Futures Lab project in spring 2019.