Southfield’s Stevenson Elementary has one-of-a-kind STEM classroom

This article originally aired on Fox 2 Detroit.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) – As students return to the classroom, there’s more of a focus on outside-the-box learning at our schools.

The United Way and families worked to provide a one-of-a-kind classroom in Southfield for kids.

Stevenson Elementary is only one of five community schools in southeast Michigan, but what’s inside these walls is something you won’t find in too many local — or national — schools.

“My team has had the great pleasure and privilege of watching this school go from a place where kids came from 8 until 3, to a place where kids did not want to go home,” said Ellen Gilchrist, United Way Southeast Michigan. “Where they lined up at the door and wait to get in, and where they greet you with hugs and hi-fives.”

The future of learning is at Stevenson Elementary in Southfield.

“This is an exciting day for this school,” she said. “It’s a day that really began three years ago.”

In the span of three years, United Way Southeast Michigan, numerous community partners and volunteers transformed a classroom into what’s called a “Creative Makerspace” for STEM learning or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

“I like how it has that whiteboard where you can draw, and then you have to put your fist on the whiteboard. and then, move it around to erase it,” said student Matthew Harpootlian.

“I’m learning how to build stuff and be creative and not spend all my time on video games and my tablet,” said student Autumn Webb.

This futuristic room isn’t just an investment in students, but their futures too.

According to STEM Education Guide, the average STEM worker makes double the salary of a non-STEM worker.

Parents at Stevenson elementary are grateful for the united way and donors who made the creative space possible.

“We are really thankful for the maker space and spaces like this in the school where kids can learn and grow. and it be a place of learning and healing,” said mom Sarah Harpootlian.

“Coming off the pandemic, we could absolutely be nothing without the support of the community. When we think about being a hub for the community, we are just that,” said Tonya Hickman, principal Stevenson Elementary.

It is turning a pipe dream into a dream come true.