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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Zellner Morris Burch shaped like a house complete with windows, curtains, and décor. Students use if for curling up with a good book, or for a variety of small group activities. The facility is composed of four learning pods connected by corridors that lead to the center of learning, the library. Like spokes on a wheel, classrooms are connected to a room that serves as office and workspace for 4 to 5 teachers. The shared space is designed to promote collaboration among grade level teachers in each pod. Each teacher has their own desk and cabinets in this space. Inside the classroom, you will not find a teacher desk at the head of the class. Instead you might find a work station or several work stations where teachers, teacher aides, or small groups of students work together. No wall or corridor is without a theme. One corridor has a life size replica of the U.S. Statue of Liberty. Another corridor entrance has a three dimensional globe with children encompassing it plastered to the wall. The other two corridors have either a huge dinosaur display or a 3-dimensional solar system. With the library serving as a hub for learning, all students pass through the library on their way to or from class or other parts of the building. Within the library are multiple spaces, nooks, and comfortable furniture. Faculty meetings are held in the library as well as class activities. International-With-A-Face-Lift Elementary. Participants in this study described this school as the most inner-city school of their mid-sized town. The language diversity of the student population is what is unique about this elementary school. International-With-A-Facelift Elementary has 592 students enrolled and serves many low socioeconomic children of varying nationalities (Texas Education Agency, 2012). Twenty-one different languages are spoken at this elementary school. The campus is considered to be a school with a large diverse student population residing in a highly international college student housing development near a large university. Student demographics have changed over the years from 45% of the student population in 2003 classified as economically disadvantaged to 62% in 2011. In 2010, 21% were listed as at risk for school failure. In spite of the changes in demographics and community economy, the school has celebrated its “Recognized” status five times in the last eight years and was awarded “Exemplary” status in 2011 (Texas Education Agency, 2012). Several teachers provided the research team with their views as to why the school has been able to provide a quality learning experience to its students over the years. One teacher commented, “Our teachers work hand-in-hand with the parents of our students. We work together to make sure everyone gets the help they need.” Another teacher said, “Our teachers work together really well. We share ideas and give presentations about teaching strategies during our faculty meetings. Also, our specialists ESL, Bilingual, Special Education are really helpful.” Remodeling and additions were made 12 years ago. Prior to remodeling, classrooms, library, and office were laid out in a typical single story egg carton arrangement (Tanner, 2009). The low cost and simplicity of this particular school design has been popular in the U.S. since the mid-20th century. It was quick to construct and cheap to build (Duran-Narucki, 2008; Wise, 2004). Halls and ceilings at International-With-A-Facelift were long and narrow with windows on every internal wall of the hallways. It was obvious that economy of design took priority over more effective learner centered models. To curb possible student distractions, teachers had curtains to block views to hallway traffic. After 30 years, the school received its second face lift with the addition of wider halls, softer lighting, colorful walls, rooms, and floor tiles. The new improved retrofit facility now has very few windows in the halls. An outside garden replaced a once stark open area between buildings. When asked, students and teachers alike said they view 45 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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