Student & Technology Center Launches New Era at Perkins
Grousbeck Family Foundation Gift of $10M Leads Plan for $25M Technology, Training & Student Initiative
The Grousbeck Family Foundation has announced a gift to Perkins School for the Blind as the basis for a fundraising effort to build, staff, and equip the Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology, catapulting Perkins into the forefront of technology for students who are blind and deafblind.
Expanded space and equipment will vastly broaden Perkins’ ability to integrate technology into every phase of a Perkins education, including academics, music, art, life skills, mobility training, recreation – and areas we have yet to imagine.
The plan for the 17,000 square-foot center includes:
- Technology labs
- Video and audio recording suites
- Teacher training space
- An assistive technology workshop
- Flexible meeting and performance space
- A student café
- And additional state-of-the-art facilities
“Creating a student and technology center will enable Perkins to fully integrate technology into the culture of blind education – empowering our students to lead more productive and independent lives," says Perkins Trust Board Chair Corinne Grousbeck. "And because Perkins believes in sharing expertise and knowledge, what goes on within this building will transform the lives of children who are blind throughout the world."
Keeping Pace with Technology Today and Tomorrow
Perkins' technology staff has increased six-fold just in 2009. Last year, Perkins acquired AT/Perkins Products to meet growing demand for adaptive technology on campus, for students in public schools across New England and beyond, and for adults who are blind or losing their vision.
“In our role as leader in blindness education, Perkins must take a leadership role in access to the latest technology,” says Perkins President Steven Rothstein. “We opened a new Technology Training Room,” Rothstein adds, “and demand quickly outstripped our capacity."
Training is the key. The Grousbeck Center will enhance training not only for Perkins students, but will be available for members of the community, as well as teachers and other education professionals worldwide. The Grousbeck Center will allow Perkins to train more public school professionals.
Preparing Students for Life after Perkins
Vocational training at the Grousbeck Center will be a springboard for students to prepare for meaningful employment in today’s technology-driven society, bolstering potential for economic independence. Perkins Superintendent of Education Programs Dorinda Rife points out, "Because it is being designed to change with new developments, Perkins will be the place to stay current, and thereby, gain more personal independence.”
The Grousbeck Center promises to be a social hub for Perkins students - a place where they can exchange ideas, trade technology, and a place to invite family and friends from the community for shared experiences. Beyond academics, technology is now simply the way people communicate and interact. This new space fosters the vital need to participate in society.
Wyc Grousbeck, the Celtics co-owner and Governor, is a director of the Foundation, which was established by his parents. Wyc and Corinne Grousbeck's son attends Perkins Secondary School. Wyc Grousbeck says the idea was sparked by observing students in social settings at the school, and by seeing the way they use technology and high-tech games. "Our son Campbell is so happy at Perkins, and he loves hanging out with his friends, playing music, games, just like any teenager. We'd like to see the kids get out of their cozy cottages and have a place to hang out together. Needless to say, they'll be learning there, too."
Reaching Beyond the Perkins Campus
For public schools, the Grousbeck Center will be a hub where Teachers of the Visually Impaired learn the latest teaching techniques that they will bring to their schools, their colleagues, and their students. Public school students will attend Perkins Outreach Program classes and workshops to enrich their learning and their social skills. Reaching around the world, real-time webcasts will allow Perkins experts to share their knowledge with colleagues across the globe, bringing best-in-class educational expertise to any location on the planet. A teacher in Ghana can be trained in an internet café at the same time a teacher in Cambridge, MA, is learning on a laptop via Perkins online sessions.