What’s Right With Ours Schools: Hamilton County Schools eLabs

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – It’s a sign of the times, eLabs are a vital part of education at all levels these days. Thanks to PEF and Volkswagen Chattanooga, Hamilton County Schools has cut the ribbon on a dozen new eLabs.

Robin Bambrey is the Principal at Hardy Elementary School. She says, “We are beyond excited and honored to be part of such a wonderful group of schools, that allow children to have the opportunity to engage in things like coding and engineering.”

Dr. Justin Robertson is the Superintendent of Hamilton County Schools.


He explains, ” What I think is amazing about this, is over the past five years, especially what we’re celebrating here today, or the last 12 months is the expansion of these ELabs. Not expansion but with these new 12, that gets us up to 36. We are now bringing it down to elementary. ”


My’Kia McMillan is at 4th grader at Hardy Elementary.

My’Kia says, “What I like about the eLab is it can help us with the future. Like it is like if you want to be a scientist or something, it can like help you would like with like technology.

4th grader Cardarius Bennett chips adds, “Growing our brains and help us see what we going what we want, to do when we grow up and have some big ideas.”

Michael Stone is the Vice President of Innovative Learning PEF.

He explains, “Five years Volkswagen made this investment.  In the Fall of 2017, we opened the first round of VW eLabs. With those  eLabs, one of the eight was at Dalewood Middle School. A group of three six grade girls who had an idea. They wanted to create a student run business, and the teachers agreed, but only on one condition, they had to actually run the whole business.”

Ari Shropshire is a now a former Dalewood Student.

She says, “With our student run business, we were basically making T- shirts and merchandise for the community. It came to a big thing where we would start taking orders from outside the community.  I’m proud to know like that they are getting this so young and get to experience this earlier than what I did. Because they are going to be baby geniuses!”

Michael Stone concludes, “Even one of the  largest auto manufacturers in the world can’t predict what jobs they’re gonna need to fill in five years. We don’t even know what the skills are that we have to prepare students for,  but we do know they’ve gotta be able to quickly learn new things. We have got to be able to engage with each other. We gotta be able to communicate; to show up on time!to pass a drug test, to demonstrate professional skills as they enter the workforce.”




Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Hamilton County, Local News, What’s Right With Our Schools