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        page 10 | Manufacturing Today Wisconsin | fall, 2020                                              Electronic Edition:

                       21st Century Tech Ed in Washington Island School District’s fab lab

                                                                                   There  was  no  real  supply  of  working   experience.  This  Fab  Lab  space  was  also
                                                                                tools or equipment. The actual fab lab space   developed to support community use in the
                                                                                was  updated  in  term  functionality  and  aes-  evenings and/or on weekends. Mr. LeBrun’s
                                                                                thetics: it was cleaned and painted. The air   vision is to offer adult education classes for
                                                                                handling system was replaced, and the elec-  those  wanting  to  hone  their  woodworking,
                                                                                trical was upgraded. A dual trough sink was   metal and welding skills.
                                                                                installed, and windows were added onto the   We  are  humbled  and  grateful  for  this
                                                                                east  wall  of  the                                  WEDC  grant  oppor-
                                                                                room,  to  ensure                                    tunity.  We  are  also
                                                                                safety  and  proper   As  an  “island”  school  district,   appreciative of those
                                                                                sight   lines   for   it  is  quite  the  feat  to  secure  the   Washington  Island
                                                                                teacher   supervi-                                   community members
                                                                                sion. Plus, one also   delivery of supplies and resources   who  wrote  letters
                                                                                needs  to  under-  in a timely manner. This includes   of  support  for  our
                                                                                stand  that  as  an”   lumber,  electrical  supplies  and   grant   application.
                                                                                island”  school  dis-  materials, and the actual installers   We  are  indebted  to
                                                                                trict, it is quite the                               those  who  showed
                                                                                feat  to  secure  the   of  any  new  equipment,  onto  the   up  in  person  to  do
                                                                                delivery  of  sup-  island.                          the  heavy  lifting
                                                                                plies and resources                                  of  organizing  and
        Matt LeBrun                         and to build a curriculum that compliments the   in a timely manner.                     developing  this  Fab
        Tech Ed Instructor                  island’s needs.                     This includes lumber, electrical supplies and   Lab  space  for  our  island  school  children.
        Washington Island School District       With the support and assistance of Riewe   materials,  and  the  actual  installers  of  any   Without these partnerships, we would not be
                                                                                new equipment, onto the island.
                                                                                                                   where we are presently. We also applaud the
            The  Washington  Island  School  District   and  Thoreson,  LeBrun  began  the  work  of   These  upgrades  will  afford  the  WISD   WISD Board of Education for their part in
        received notice of their FY20 award from the   inventorying  what  this  fab  lab  space  would   students the opportunity to engage in a 21st   this endeavor. They believed in this program
        WI Economic Development Corporation last   need in the first phase of their 3-phase plan.   century  Tech  Ed  experience,  that  so  many   and have supported it from its inception.
        spring.  This  exciting  news  was  profound  in   The  WI  community  also  rose  to  this  chal-  of their peers on the mainland have had for
        several respects:  the district had recently hired   lenge. The WI Lions Club donated $5000.00.   decades.  These  opportunities  are  provided
        a dedicated Tech Ed instructor, and the class-  The WI Education Foundation followed with   for  all  students  in  grades  6–12  presently.
        lab space was in dire need of upgrades, repairs   a  $7500.00  gift,  and  the  Jessup  Foundation   We  plan  to  expand  this  experience  for  our
        and  equipment  that  would  allow  for  a  21st   added an additional $5000.00. These bequests   upper elementary students, as well as move   (920) 847-2507
        century tech ed curriculum to be delivered to   offset what the WEDC Fab Lab grant required   onto  Phase  2  of  the  three-phase  plan.  This
        students in this island school district. The $25k   in order to apply. The WISD ear-marked the   includes developing a metals space, whereby
        was more than welcomed, as it supplemented   remainder  of  the  100%  match  with  district   students can have a welding and machining
        the work need to reconfigure the existing fab   money.
        lab space.                              The team of Riewe, Thoreson and LeBrun
            An important piece of the grant applica-  moved full steam ahead. New wood working
        tion required proof of community support, as   equipment  was  ordered.  This  included  a
        well as a detailed plan for sustaining the fab   sliding table saw, combo jointer-planer, a dust   Spartan Manufacturing
        lab.  Two  Washington  Island  residents,  Don   collection system that is not only efficient, but
        Riewe and Leif Thoreson stepped up to assist   quiet.  The  noise  level  is  minimal  given  the  Continued from page 8
        the  district’s  new  Tech  Ed  instructor,  Matt   space  of  the  Fab  Lab  and  the  school  build-
        LeBrun.  Matt  was  interviewed  and  hired  in   ing.  The  new  laser  engraver  offers  students   the  Spartan  Manufacturing’s  most  ambitious   then applies these skills on a larger scale in
        June of 2019. Matt chose the WISD because   the opportunity cut through and/or engrave on   students,  Callie  Korth.  When  asked  what   order to achieve a particular outcome that is
        he  felt  that  [this]  small,  rural  school  district   multiple  materials,  including  plastic,  wood,   prompted her to email News 15, she explained   tangible.”
        was the perfect spot in which he could begin   glass, cloth, leather, acrylic and metal. These   “I just wanted to gain exposure, and try to give   Moving forward as a company, Spartan
        his teaching career. The position afforded him   may not seem like a big deal, but one has to   people an understanding about what goes on   Manufacturing  is  planning  to  bring  in  other
        the ability to create his “dream tech ed” space,   understand that this space was virtually empty.   in a student run business.”  specialties, such as the business, art, and lan-
                                                                                   The momentum from the story released   guage  departments,  which  will  allow  these
                                                                                on January 9th brought in not only sales, but   specific students to apply their specialties to
                                                                                gave  Spartan  Manufacturing  the  latitude  to   concrete results. The class will highlight each
                                                                                appeal  to  customers  from  all  areas  of  Wis-  individuals’  talents,  while  at  the  same  time,
                                                                                consin.  Shipping  orders  from  Janesville  to   give students a chance to experience a work-
                                                                                Sheboygan, the company had attained one of   place environment.
                                                                                it’s main goals set at the beginning of the year,   The future of Spartan Manufacturing is
                                                                                to reach outlets past the little town of McFar-  bright; however, it lies within the next genera-
                                                                                land.                              tion of ambitious students to fuel an enterprise
                                                                                   Looking back on the success of Spartan   that thrives off their determination and aspira-
                                                                                Manufacturing, Steve Pennekamp, the teacher   tions.
                                                                                that started and oversees Spartan Manufactur-
                                                                                ing, emphasized the importance of experience
                                                                                that  is  entailed  within  the  class,  “One  thing
                                                                                I’m  very  proud  of  about  this  opportunity  is
                                                                                that it takes advantage of everything a student   (608) 838-4500
                                                                                learns, and applies it to a class. For example,
                                                                                Spartan Manufacturing is built off of common
                                                                                core  classes  such  as  math  and  English,  and
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