Wednesday, June 18, 2014

While the Children are Away

For the most part the halls are silent. The majority of our students are enjoying summer vacation. This may include visits to the pool, vacations to far distance lands, and maybe even a trip to get ice cream some hot afternoon! But while our classrooms aren't bustling with the sounds of teachers delivering a lesson on phonics, the district is still open for business and work is underway at a furious pace.

Many of you have probably driven by the school and are aware of the parking lot project that we are working on north of the middle school. Like the high school parking lot, this was a project that was a long time coming! The old lot was rapidly deteriorating and had numerous broken sections of asphalt. Never mind the point that the original construction didn't have any type of sub-base underneath and the asphalt was directly applied over black dirt in many cases. This lot is being completely rebuild with a sturdy sub-base and concrete. When finished, it will be quite a bit larger than the old lot and able to easily accommodate faculty parking during the school day and our activities in the evening. This lot will be a huge improvement to our facilities (and eliminate the need to park in the grass)!

Meanwhile on the inside we are working on a couple of projects that will be significant improvements to the student experience! In the high school, the gym is being renovated. This work includes the replacement of all the lights with florescent light fixtures. Not only does this improvement help brighten up the space, but will prove to be a great energy saver that will have a positive impact on our electric bills! A painting crew is currently in the gym putting a fresh coat of paint with an updated scheme that will be very impressive when you see it. After that is finished we plan on installing new side baskets, which was a much needed improvement. When we took the old ones off the wall it became apparent that this was something that just simply needed to be done. Once that is finished a floor company will come in and sand down the floor, replace boards that are old and worn out, then finish and repaint. The final touch will come just prior to the school  year starting when we install bleachers. I am very excited to see what the finished product will look like! This space will prove to be very useful as we begin to offer more and more athletic events where multiple gyms need to be utilized. Look for the high school gym to be a great venue for many junior varsity and middle school games--not to mention the utility that it will hold for high school assemblies!

Back across the street we are renovating the old computer lab. Does it sound to you like we have renovated a computer lab every year? Well, we have. This year we are finishing work in the old lab in the elementary (which is in the library) and is adjacent to a much newer lab right next door. The old furniture that featured tables surrounding the perimeter has been removed and we are in the process of wiring the lab and putting updated furniture in that space to make it more student and teacher friendly. Once this is complete, we will have three fully functioning computer labs in the elementary with over 90 desktop computers! This will make it easy to accommodate an entire grade level at one time with plenty of spare machines left over! That doesn't consider the classroom sets of computers that are already in place for the students, and the Board recently approved the purchase of 125 IPAD tablet devices for our elementary to help with the delivery and implementation of the new math and ELA curriculum. That move, by the way will put 6 machines in every general education classroom space and 3 in each special education room.

Also in the elementary this summer we have moved many of our elementary classroom spaces to ensure that all of our grade levels are together. This will facilitate greater collaboration among our faculty and provide greater flexibility in the sharing of students. Office spaces are being created for the instructional coaches in what used to be the old book room and Title one classroom. Locating these offices in central hub of the elementary will give them greater access to the classrooms and teachers they will be serving. Everything has been tied together nicely with a fresh coat of paint upstairs and in the back hallway that connects the library with the art and music room. A big thank you needs to be extended to the PTO for working on this project!

So while the children are away we are taking this opportunity to complete several much needed updates around the district. On top of this, our custodial staff is busily cleaning rooms and putting a shine on everything to have it ready for the beginning of the school year.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer!

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