Streetsboro school leaders aim for buildings to meet needs of the future

by Mike Lesko | reporter Published:

School leaders took another step forward in the plan to upgrade and rebuild some of the district's school buildings, learning how education will look in the next century at a conference Jan. 30 in Columbus.

The workshop in Columbus on educational visioning and transformation was conducted by Ohio Facilities Construction Committee officials.

"The workshop was designed to help participants getting ready to enter into the OFCC building program to begin thinking about how facilities should be designed to meet the needs of 21st century learners," said Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh.

On hand at the session were Daulbaugh, treasurer Catherine Rouse and Streetsboro School Board members. About seven to eight groups from other school districts were present, as well, said School Board President Andrew Lesak.

"It was an excellent, interactive day to re-think our overall approach to the new facilities," Lesak said.

A new high school and stadium will likely be built on Route 14. At the Route 303 school campus, the existing high school will be heavily renovated to accommodate grades six through eight, and an addition will be built at Campus Elementary School, following the approval of a bond issue in November. The current middle school and Wait Primary School will eventually be closed. Henry Defer Intermediate School would not be renovated, but would only serve fourth- and fifth-graders, according to the district's plan.

Daulbaugh said the day was packed with "information about best practices and how buildings have been constructed to meet the progressive needs of students."

"We learned that building a new building the 'traditional' way may not be the best use of our resources," he said. "Rather, we need to work together as a community [students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, community] to design buildings that are progressive and transforming."

Daulbaugh said school officials also realized there needs to be "a paradigm shift" as to what education and its delivery may look like in the near future.

Lesak said examples of progressive and transforming education include:

• Using problem/project-based learning as a primary instructional strategy.

• Students working collaboratively to solve real world problems/projects.

• Students utilizing a multitude of resources to get answers to their questions.

• Students regularly presenting their work internally and to outside "experts."

• Teachers working in groups to act as facilitators to large groups of students [broken up into learning teams].

• Learning spans several classrooms and related spaces.

• Learning takes place in a coordinated manner in a variety of shared spaces.

• Adaptive learning programs, gaming, website, blended learning are all used extensively.

• Building is rich with two- and three-dimensional displays of student projects.

• Students regularly teach others; outside experts are used for projects.

• Issues have no specific answers; problem solving is the focus.

Daulbaugh said when looking at the list above, he asked if Streetsboro's current facilities could support such teaching.

"My answer to that is, probably not," Daulbaugh said. "This is why we have a golden opportunity to not only transform how we teach and deliver education, but also have the opportunity to design the space we will teach in for the next 50 years. This is a huge responsibility, and we will only have one chance to do it."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9439

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