Achievement House BLOG

The Achievement House Maker Express is on the move! We’re rolling out our mobile maker space to students across Pennsylvania to allow them to explore their creative interests and adaptability.

On Tuesday, August 22, 2023, AHCCS’s Maker Express traveled to Goggleworks in Reading, PA to host the first in-person event of the school year. The Connect & Create with the AHCCS Maker Express event brought students, families, businesses, and legislators from the Reading area to learn and explore the different technologies offered by Achievement House Cyber Charter School’s Maker Express van.

The Connect & Create with the AHCCS Maker Express event held in Reading featured activities, innovative technologies, food, and prizes. Families were invited to Goggleworks to learn about the technologies in the Maker Express including AHCCS’s Glowforge, 3D Printer, Poster Printer, and Cricut Machines. Students  and their family members created decals on notebooks, draw-string bags, and hats with the Cricut Machine, pencil clips on the 3D Printer, and engraved pencils and/or pens on the Laser Printer. 

Local businesses and legislators were also invited to meet with students to discuss internship opportunities as well as to talk to families about the importance of a cyber school education and school choice. The local news press coverage highlighted the significant event opportunities offered to attendees.

Recently hired Mobile Makerspace Specialist, Chandra Jones, is looking forward to providing a variety of innovative events throughout the 2023-2024 school year. Her responsibility as the Makerspace Specialist is to explore all the available technologies and bring these machines to students across the state in AHCCS’s Maker Express van.

When asked why she wanted this role Chandra said, “Who wouldn’t apply for this role? This is all stuff I enjoy doing in my personal time and working with students is something I am passionate about, so being able to do both things through this job is magical.”

Her first event in Reading was a tremendous success and a terrific start to her career at AHCCS. The day exceeded her expectations, and she is appreciative of all her colleagues who were instrumental in creating a such memorable event. Collaboration was a key factor in ensuring this event had all the elements that Chandra envisioned including a fun atmosphere filled with projects for everyone. Upon reflecting on the event, Chandra recalls being blown away by the connections made throughout the day.

She said, “I was blown away by the connections. It’s something you hope will happen but cannot manufacture.”

Students recognized their teachers and counselor and were able to chat about their schedules as well as the upcoming year. By the end of the day students who seemed hesitant at first to interact were exchanging contact information with other students. So many authentic connections were made through shared interests that were discovered throughout the day.

As the Mobile Makerspace Specialist Chandra plans to continue hosting Maker Express in different parts of the state to give the opportunity to AHCCS students and other local youth to explore new technology.

“One of my major goals is to bring really cool technology to our students and let them get their hands on it, experience it, and imagine what role this technology might play in their future careers.”

Additionally, Chandra’s other major goal is to make connections. These connections can occur between students, students and staff, and the community. She also strives to engage all AHCCS teachers and staff  to provide alternative and new ways to engage with students.

Chandra expressed “We want our students to choose how they connect with the world and how they connect with each other. Connecting with these technologies is important because we want to build the confidence in our students so that they know that they can interact with high technology and that they can be successful with it.”

Even if students are not necessarily interested in careers in the STEM field, they will develop different skills from learning how to use new technologies not only for academics but personally. For example, skills and techniques taught at Reading Makerspace Express event did spark new hobby interests for attendees.

Chandra said, “Hobbies are as important as careers. Hobbies are what makes life fun!”

Outside of the Makerspace Events, Chandra would like to support teachers and staff by showcasing how these new technologies might impact their roles at AHCCS. Teachers with Chandra’s guidance have been learning these new tools for incorporation in their curriculums. Also, additional technologies will be added to the Makerspace including a CNC Router which is similar to 3D printer but instead uses a drill bit to cut through materials like wood.

AHCCS Makerspace program under the direction of Chandra Jones is leading the way in providing students, teachers, and staff innovative and creative techniques to enhance every student’s learning and overall experience at Achievement House Cyber Charter School.