The storms that swept through the Midwest were no match for the whirlwind visit events at the Discovery Center of Springfield, inaugural Yass winner (2021) and exemplar for science museums and educators throughout the country.
The Yass Prize celebrates, rewards and expands education providers who outperform for underserved students in transformational ways. That’s probably why the Mayor, state policymakers and press came from far and wide to join us in our second Road Show of the year.
The story of the Discovery Center is how a museum became a school. We’ve told their story before, but in brief; when parents had nowhere else to turn during Covid, Discovery welcomed them in.
At warp speed, Discovery reopened their doors, reimagined as a school in order to meet the urgent needs of healthcare workers’ families who needed not only a safe option for their students, but an education that focused on putting kids first. “We’d get here before dark and we would leave after dark. We were always traveling in the dark. Nobody else was ever on the roads. It was just us coming here to serve kids. Everyone else had shut down.” said Director Rob Blevins.
Today it’s not just a school, but a series of opportunities and learning experiences that far transcend a normal classroom experience.
After winning the Yass Prize, DCS revamped their education space to include hands-on displays, labs, and more in 50,000 square feet of interactive space, interweaving a broad array of subjects; hard sciences, technology, math, health, environment, culture, art, and communications.
Through programs designed to give abstract ideas, concepts, and real-world applications, DCS’ mission is to “inspire curiosity and a life-long love of learning through memorable and engaging hands-on experiences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
From the Mayor issuing a proclamation making it Education Innovation Day in Springfield, to our founder Janine Yass taking top billing on the evening news, to the state’s top lawmakers convening to learn more about Springfield’s own education leader, we keep wondering, why isn’t every Science Center a school?