Earlier this spring I blogged about what a great time I had at our ribbon cutting for the newly renovated E. Rivers Elementary School. Mr. Jere Smith, director of Capital Improvements for the district, has informed me that Rivers has earned a “Project Achievement” award and recognition from the South Atlantic Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America for the awesome building design!
Facilities matter, and I’m a big believer in creating dynamic, open and creative learning spaces which foster great teaching and learning. APS continues to work to ensure that all students have an enriched learning experience. Often that begins with a working space that can comfortably accommodate our growing student population.
I would like to share with you an update on the current construction and renovation projects in progress across the district.
We currently have four active construction projects in the works— E. Rivers Elementary, Bunche Middle School, Sylvan Hills Middle School and Mary Lin Elementary.
Watch this video to hear from builders at three of the current construction sites. This is such a great first-hand look inside the building and designing of our schools.
There are many construction projects going on around the district and I am out visiting each of them. Today, I was able to see the site development at Mary Lin Elementary School and was met by merry, merry students and engaged teachers. Yes, it’s an old building that needs a lot of love and improvement and many improvements are underway. But, there seems to be some questions regarding the timeline for the site addition. In short, the report from our Facilities Services staff is that the completion of this phase has been delayed—it looks like it should be ready for occupancy second semester—and, yes, the overall project timeline is still on track. I look forward to seeing our students out of the portables and into classrooms, administration space and a media center along with renovations to the cafeteria and kitchen.
I spent time in a 3rd grade classroom with Teacher Katreice Jackson. She is clearly an inspiration because her eager students were working on their writing and storytelling skills where they created NEW endings to the story (there were some hilarious new story lines – giggles throughout…you had to be there). I also had a few moments with the art teacher, Bonnie Baker, and music teacher, John Marvel. Both shared with me how they loved their jobs, colleagues, students, principal and school.
One of my highlights involved meeting the president of the PTA, Kim Myer, who was monitoring “brunch” (way too early to even pretend that it was lunch) for our kiddos in the gyma-café-torium. (Note to self: In another life, take over the school construction industry and never build those again! Ugh!) But back to Kim Myer, what a mom and super cool person! She was really knowledgeable about the school, district and what parents really need to further support the school.
After our tour, I was able to debrief with Principal Brian Mitchell and Associate Superintendent David White to be sure we were covering all the areas that will be important for Mary Lin to continue to improve and serve the community and students well. We all want Mary Lin to be the best school it can possibly be, so, like other schools across APS, Mary Lin will be improving performance compared to peer schools, supporting minority students with gaps in performance, beefing up math performance so that more students qualify for Accelerated Math as they enter middle and high school and targeting growth no matter where students are in ability. After seeing the amazing co-curricular work of Ms. Baker and Mr. Marvel, I am looking forward to more opportunities at Lin for enrichment like student government, school performances and field trips.
I started my day with merry, merry Mary Lin students and left as merry, merry Meria, a Mary Lin fan (and happy superintendent)!