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Tim Dzurko2Thanks to growing donor support, the SCASD Education Foundation has been able to directly support the innovation and ideas of State College Area School District's teachers, and help them make their dreams a reality.

Timothy Dzurko, who teaches Technology and Engineering Education and STEM at Park Forest Middle School received a grant to bring a CNC Laser Cutting System to design, create and assemble objects that have practical uses. A versatile system, it will be capable of lasering metal, acrylic, wood, leather, glass, brick, cardboard and paper, fabric and more.

He tells us more about how this project will help his students dial up their inner innovator.

How soon will you be able to bring the laser cutter to your classroom?

TD: The purchase order for the CNC Laser cutting system has been processed and I expect to receive the resource in a few short weeks.

What's the long-lasting impact of this experience in your classroom?

TD: All PFMS student learners in sixth and seventh grade, approximately 520 students, spend a considerable amount of instructional time in my Technology Education Laboratory engaged in project based engineering activities. The CNC Laser Cutter will serve these students with a resource to process materials and ideas quickly and efficiently. A large percentage of 8th grade student learners pass through this lab as elective class members on a 12-week rotational basis as well.

In addition to the students in the Technology Education courses, members of the PFMS TSA (Technology Student Association) Chapter will have this resource at their disposal. This will allow the members to design and produce materials/projects related to their more than 35 STEM related competitive events throughout the school year. The CNC Laser Cutting System would also offer the opportunity to design and produce items that could potentially be used as club/school fundraisers and meet the needs of community service projects.

The incorporation of this learning resource in the PFMS has the potential to affect every student, faculty and staff member for many years in the future. Outside of the initial investment, there are minimal costs associated with the daily operation of this technological system due to the flexibility and versatility in materials that this system can process.

What gave you an interest in teaching technology and engineering?

TD: I always enjoyed the industrial arts/technology education courses that I participated in during my junior high and high school years. This is my 23rd year of teaching technology and engineering based classes with a strong emphasis on STEM activities.

What's your favorite part of your job?

TD: I enjoy providing the students with opportunities to grow through project based learning activities while incorporating the Design Thinking Process.

Can you complete this sentence: Because of the SCASDEF Student Opportunity grant, now I can:

TD: Implement more student centered technology education activities encouraging greater creativity and output in the design thinking process. The CNC Laser system will allow the students to rapidly develop and test ideas while actively being engaged in solving real world problems.

Mr. Dzurko’s classroom is one of seven that is tangibly changing thanks to the $7,516 that was awarded as part of the Student Opportunity Grant Program. Help us do even more! To donate to next year's Student Opportunity Grant Program, go to scasdfoundation.org/donate.