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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Zellner Morris Burch teacher said, “Students as well as people in our community are very proud of their school and its state of the art design. It is nothing that they have ever seen in a school before.” Some teachers did voice concern regarding the open concept design of the library and the fact that all traffic to and from classes pass through it. However, these concerns were not the predominant view of most teachers interviewed. As one teacher stated, “The library should be the hub! It should be an active lively place. It should be a place where students and teachers engage in conversation and learning.” Another teacher said, “Teachers more than students are affected by the noise level! Students should be surrounded by books and see people reading and working together. Noise isn’t the problem!” Other discussions with teachers at Have-it-All Elementary referenced windows, open spaces, nooks, and crannies for a variety of learning settings. Student and teacher friendly furniture is located throughout the school. Several statements by teachers and staff referred to the perception that the building allowed for a variety of learning spaces. “You can go and sit on the couches, and you can curl up in the library . . . there are so many places you can work one- on-one in a non-threatening way.” In the case of International-With-A-Facelift Elementary, the environment of the school facility was physically changed as much as possible to fit the belief system of the learning community teachers, staff, and students. The rationale behind the flexibility afforded teachers within their classrooms was said to be due to emphasis on engaging all students in learning. Teachers were happy with the 1999 remodeling of the building. However, some teachers were not fond of the long hallways, others wished there were still windows in the halls to view individual classrooms, and most teachers agreed that more storage space was needed. None of the teachers interviewed said the building captured their view of an ideal BCL school. Most teachers indicated they were very pleased with the colors in the classrooms, the new flooring, lighting, and enlarged halls. One teacher said, “The colors make the building light and bright for teachers and students.” Teachers also indicated their satisfaction with the exchange of florescent lighting for softer indirect lighting in most classrooms. The garden area appeared to provide both students and teachers with a sense of pride as well as providing learning opportunities. One teacher said, “The additional learning spaces within the school and library provide our students places to work individually or in groups. This is a plus!” When not in use, the science lab is used as a study hall for children who want to work in a quieter environment. Another teacher expressed, “There’s a freedom to use the new spaces however you want to as long as it doesn’t bother others.” In Over-The-Hill Elementary, teachers were happy with the continued remodeling of the school, but saddened by the cost cuts. Little was done to improve the accessibility to materials and resources for the teachers. There are still few professional spaces for planning and working. Students still have to walk outside the classroom to the bathrooms and gym by way of an outside walkway. Some teachers are not happy with the huge rambling layout of the facility; others wished the district had torn down the old school and started over with a new one. The assistant principal and executive principal were frustrated with the outcome of the first remodeling in 1999 as well as the continued remodeling over the years to 2011. The school administration has been continually trying to make modifications that will have a more learner-centered focus within the confines of the current building structure. It is the opinion of the research team that this endeavor has not been an easy task. 51 Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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