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View of App Lab with monitors on the left and windows on the right and robotic kits on tables

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Corbett Prep integrates multiple best practices in education.

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Tomlin Family Application Lab

Greg, Ali, Holly and John Tomlin stand in front of an illuminated Tomlin Family Application Lab sign

With cutting-edge technology, traditional tools and a rich natural environment, the Tomlin Family Application Lab provides an innovative and collaborative space to inspire beyond-the-box thinkers.

Corbett Prep's App Lab moved into its new 4,000-square-foot home overlooking Lake Lipsey for the 2021-22 school year, launching a learning experience that will benefit all students in PreK3 through 8th grade. Its interdisciplinary curriculum is built into every students' schedule and allows them to delve into design-thinking structures as they learn to think critically and creatively.

The Tomlin family, whose three children graduated from Independent Day School/Corbett Prep in the 2000s, cut the ribbon to officially open the new facility on Aug. 5, 2021.

STEAM Education

The App Lab began as a maker space in 2016 for special class activities, small group enrichment and after-school clubs. In 2018, Corbett Prep expanded the lab’s reach and renamed it to honor the Tomlins. Part wood shop, part technology center, the App Lab was packed with equipment and soon outgrew its classroom.

Relocating to the library building offered an opportunity to inspire collaboration, reach all students and expand the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art of design and mathematics) program. Library services could function just as effectively in the smaller footprint of the former App Lab classroom.

Before they could switch spaces, the App Lab and library were emptied and reorganized. The Corbett Prep facilities team and contractors gutted and rewired the former library, installed new drywall, painted, built a presentation stage, laid carpet and tile and added tinted windows. The layout establishes zones for virtual reality, programming and computer design near the front, with construction tools for manual design, building and creative experimentation along the back wall.

Glossy tables that interlock in different configurations and rolling chairs encourage collaboration in groups of all sizes and cast students’ work from their laptop screens onto one or more of the surrounding screens. 

The remodel also included an overhaul of the computer lab above the library to incorporate video production into the App Lab program. An anchor desk, two green screens, cameras and monitors will allow students to experiment with multimedia editing and produce WIDS TV regularly. Rows of computers remain available for classes that need dedicated time for keyboarding, coding and projects. 

The Tomlin Family Application Lab establishes a brain-friendly and globally minded setting for students to become empowered as learners. 

Meet the App Lab Team

Director Jessica Wallen has 20 years of experience as an educator and excels at helping teachers enhance their existing lessons with hands-on projects and trips that combine formal learning with meaningful educational experiences. She has taught and created curriculum in multiple subject areas including English, science, robotics, STEM and environmental science. She leads a team of teachers with specialities in different STEAM subject areas.

STEAM Specialists

  • Josh Gamson
  • Robert Johnson
  • John Palmer
  • Matt Melnick
  • Anna DeJesus
  • Gery Morey

For more information, contact Director Jessica Wallen.