Welcoming cafeterias. Spaces for innovation. Expanded preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Air conditioned schools for summer learning. These are just a few of the ways that the bond-funded Building for Student Success program is supporting student learning in our schools.
“BVSD added preschool construction expansion to the bond so schools were prepared when additional funding for full-day kindergarten is secured by the State of Colorado and preschool expansion for the Colorado Preschool Program,” early childhood education director Kim Bloemen explained. “For example, we added preschool programs at Meadowlark and Eldorado once the space and funding were available in the schools.”
Bloemen said the goal is to create PK-5 learning communities in which preschool children begin their educational journeys in their neighborhood school or school of choice.
“Adding air conditioning has completely changed the summer learning experience for both kids and staff,” said Robbyn Fernandez, Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership for Elementary Schools. “Before air conditioning, those schools were very uncomfortable during the summer programs.” Alicia Sanchez International, Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer and Birch Elementary are among the schools in which air conditioning was installed.
Makeovers of cafeterias with new furniture and lighting have expanded student use of these spaces beyond just meal time and turned them into spaces where students learn throughout the day.
“The newly renovated cafeterias with natural light and views of (and often access to) the outdoors provide a much more pleasant dining experience than the old cafeterias of concrete blocks,” said School Food Project director Ann Cooper. “The pleasant ambiance promotes socializing and ‘family-time’ at the table, providing a break from learning and a time to refresh, which can enhance a student’s readiness to learn.”
“The cafeteria is being used by students all the time. Kids are staying on campus now,” remarked Centaurus principal Dan Ryan. “The new seating is better for conversations. Students do work together and socialize. Our cafeteria has become the hub of the school.”
One of the biggest ways bond dollars are being used to support student learning is through the Innovation projects at each school that aim to support teachers in transforming the way they teach. Using BVSD’s Innovation Guiding Principles, each building creates an Innovation Project Plan that describes what kind of teaching and learning they want to see and a vision for the kind of space that will encourage and support it. Some of the projects we’ve seen so far include makerspaces, enhanced libraries, video studios, outdoor “classrooms,” furniture makeovers and collaboration labs. Read more about this work in the May issue of the The Spot.
Details about these projects and other bond improvements being made at BVSD schools are available on the Building for Student Success website.