Learning and Innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." -William Pollard
February 16th, 2012

March 22nd, 2011

The "Lab" and the NNHS Learning Commons bestowed the inaugural Alumni Innovators Award to George T. Whitesides, '92, President and CEO of Virgin Galactic.

Pictured (left to right): Kevin McGrath, George T. Whitesides, Charles Shapiro, Stefano Chinosi
An impressive and inspiring alumnus, George T. Whitesides ’92, returned to NNHS to speak in the auditorium to over 500 students, on March 22nd at 12:30. Whitesides is now President/CEO of Virgin Galactic - innovating the way we engineer space travel. In the spirit of the new NNHS and the many great faculty and student innovations going on here, Whitesides was awarded the first ever Alumni Innovator Award. His presentation was a source of inspiration for all in attendance.

Since leaving NNHS, George was Chief of Staff at NASA and the executive director of the National Space Society. In 2010 he was appointed CEO and President of VIRGIN GALACTIC. Virgin Galactic, like Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic, is one of Richard Branson's companies. It describes itself as an airline offering suborbital spaceflights. Branson appointed George as President/CEO in 2011.

George's father is Malenkrodt Professor of Chemistry at Harvard, and prolific author on nanotechnology. His mother is equally prolific, as well as a great supporter of Newton North. Her recent book on learning to read Arabic makes it seem like child's play.

December 7th, 2010

The Official Launch Party of Newton's Lab

Here's a link to the NNHS PTSO video from the event - NNHS PTSO

Benji explains the chemistry of BioDiesel

Superintendent David Fleishman

John Stuart, Robin Saitz, and Mayor Setti Warren
Quinn and Emmett demo WindchillPP
Zach and Nick lead a tour

Innovation in the News - RSS
BusinessWeek - RSS

281 Needham Street, Upper Level
Newton, MA 02464
July-August 2010 volume 07-2010

Innovation Lab Brings Together Students, Business
- By Steven A. Liberace -

There was a time when “practical experience” for a public school student meant a paper route or apart-time stint in retail. Now it means manufacturing bio-fuels or designing working robots. Thanks to the Innovation Lab, a ground-breaking educational initiative offered by the Newton Public Schools in partnership with industry and the community, students and teachers throughout the school system will have the opportunity to propose ideas, develop practical pilot projects and collaborate with businesses and the community using state of the art technology and expert mentoring.
The Innovation Lab opens its doors this fall at the newly built Newton North High school in Newtonville. The program teaches the process of through a hands-on approach, and fosters the latest skills needed to solve real-world problems. Educators, students, community members and representatives from business will collaborate on projects over a three-year development cycle.
“I think what the innovation lab is doing with this methodology of bringing educators, students, business, and the community together is really adding five more 21st century competencies,” says Chryse Gibson, the program’s volunteer Phase I project manager, and mother to a Newton North student. “And those would be: the ability to be creative, to think critically, to communicate, to collaborate, and to develop cultural understanding.”
Gibson refers to these skills as “the 5C’s,” in contrast to the “3 R’s,” and maintains they are critical to modern problem solving in a global economy. John Stuart, who manages the global education program of PTC, a prominent soft-ware company headquartered at 140Kendrick Street in Needham that’s partnered with the Innovation Lab, puts this in practical terms:
“With the innovation lab,” says Stuart, “we want to strategically develop the engineer of the future program. The engineers of the future are probably going to be a lot different from the engineers of today. They’re going to leverage social networking tools: they’ll probably use Facebook or tools like Facebook for business purposes, where they don’t to-day. They’ll probably collaborate more than engineers today do, so they can design anywhere in the world and build anywhere in the world.”
PTC, an industry leader with 5,300 employees and 50,000 customers world-wide and about one billion dollars in sales this year, is donating two professional engineering software packages to the Innovation Lab, along with financial contributions professional mentoring, and internship opportunities for students. In fact, some Newton students are already using PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER®, a CAD package used to design products like the Toyota Camry’s engine, and Windchill®, a content and process management package for collaborative product development.
“These students are going to learn real world skills,” says Stuart. “They’re going to be taught with the same software our customers use to design the next great product. These students are going to learn the exact same skills that Raytheon uses or Boston Scientific.”
Students and faculty are already tackling real-world challenges successfully. Chris Pinney, of the Carroll School of Management, an Innovation Lab volunteer who initially proposed the concept to Newton North Principal Jennifer Price, sites the success of Steve Chinosi, the English teacher who’s set up a successful bio-fuel enterprise with Newton North Students and local companies. Chinosi will head the Innovation Lab and his successful Green Engineering program will play an integral role.
“He’s working with Legal Sea Foods and MIT,” says Pinney. “He’s got all sorts of people involved. The kids are producing bio-fuel out of the grease from Legal Sea Foods. They’ve got another company they’re selling it back to, then it’s going into trucks.”
The Innovation Lab welcomes partnerships with local businesses. According to Pinney, the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce is “a critical partner for the innovation lab to succeed.”
Steven A. Liberace is a freelance writer with a background in education and the web industry. He offers copy writing services for websites, blogs, marketing and sales collateral, newsletters and trade publications. E-mail: info@stevenliberace.com Phone 617-549-3651.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
-Abraham Maslow