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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Zellner Morris Burch student performance over the years is attributed to the almost perfect average daily attendance. Even though Over-The-Hill Elementary is considered to be in a low socio-economic area with limited resources, grant funding has increased the number of special programs and services for children. Interestingly, all teachers have a specialization on this campus. The surrounding neighborhood is noted for its high crime rate, neglected neighborhood, but that perception is slowly changing. New housing has been introduced and older abandoned apartments and homes were removed. A beautiful park has taken the place of a trashy vacant lot. Student achievement and school attendance has been steadily on target from 2002 to 2010. It is the belief of the principal that the stability in achievement and school attendance is due to parental and community support of the school. School attendance has hovered around 96% over the past eight years. According to reported AEIS scores, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who attended Over-The-Hill Elementary have shown increased academic performance (Texas Education Agency, 2012). However, the school principal commented, “Our academic success should only be linked to the special programs and individual attention our students receive, however the use of the space we have provided does help our teachers be more effective in their job.” The State has given the school an “Academically Acceptable” rating from 2003 to 2011 (Texas Education Agency, 2012). The number of students who fell into the economically disadvantaged category rose from 91% in 2003 to 94% in 2011. The number of students with limited English language increased over the years from 41% in 2003 to 56% in 2011 (Texas Education Agency, 2012). Over-The-Hill Elementary is half a mile from Have-It-All Elementary and has similar demographics and needs. Over-The-Hill Elementary has implemented a dual language program for its ever-increasing bi-lingual student population. This particular campus was a Pre-K to 2nd grade campus from 1997 to 2007. After 2007, a grade level was added each year until 2010. Redistricting created the need for the school to become a Pre K-5th grade campus. The grade level additions did not affect the student population or create overcrowding. The original egg carton design of the building is still in place, but as observed by our research team, connections between classroom spaces are now more prevalent. Some walls were removed to encourage collaborative activities among teachers and students. The long outside walkways were covered providing protection from the elements. In keeping with the importance of creating an inviting learning environment, modifications were made to classroom lighting, furniture, and access to resources. Students are provided nutritional snacks and allowed to keep water bottles for hydration at their desks during the day. Just like the other school sites in the study, the school principals viewed adequate hydration and nutrition to be key factors in promoting readiness for learning. Their the principals view is a major component of BCL philosophy (Caine, 2000; Diamond & Hopson, 1999; Jensen, 2008). Method The study sought to identify the individual and corporate places where children are learning and examine the relationship of these physical spaces to the education process. The study proceeded through three phases. Initially, the researchers examined the 3 selected school sites using a criteria referenced evaluation instrument developed by Dr. Harold Hawkins and Dr. Ed Lilly (1998) for the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International. Through use of a survey process, the instrument was used to measure perceptions of school building adequacy and 47 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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