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Middle School Media Center to begin learning and instructional improvements

on February 26, 2019

View of emply shelving, piles of cardboard boxes marked as "biography section," and sign annoucing the Media Center rennovation.This September, students at Warwick Valley Middle School will be looking at a new world of possibilities as they rediscover their media center, redesigned for 21st-century learning and collaboration.

In preparation for that transformation, media center staff have been packing up and cleaning out the space, readying for construction beginning March 4. As outlined in the capital project approved by voters in December of 2017, this is one of several improvements coming to the Middle School this year.

When first inaugurated in 1973, the Middle School library was one of the building’s most inviting rooms, gleaming with stacks of brightly-colored books still smelling like new.

Decades later, the school library has evolved from a space for information inquiries and transactions, to a hub for learning and collaboration—supported by instructional media and technology.

But while the role of school libraries and students’ resource needs have changed, the physical spaces have grown outdated, posing increasing limitations to the development and application of 21st-century learning, literacy and life skills.

A new day for the Middle School’s Media Center

“The new media center is designed to keep pace with the changing needs of our learners, the markets and workplaces they will one day contribute to, and the global problems they will help solve,” said school Principal Georgianna Diopoulos.

Modular instructional and collaborative workspaces, as well as quiet study areas, will be enhanced by technology upgrades shored up by new infrastructure capable of supporting future modernization.

On the far corner of the center, bordering a school hallway, students and faculty will benefit from a multipurpose conference-like room. The opposite corner will offer a flexible room that can be used for large-group instruction. Both will be housed in sound-resistant glass. Their visibility will make them more inviting to students and create an open, unifying flow between all learning spaces in the media center.

The book collection of 10,000 volumes, approximately, will be stored in four rows of shelving, including three low-stack units to allow for the flow of light.

Open areas will offer flexible seating for easy reconfiguration and greater functionality.

Planned scheduling changes at the Middle School for 2019-20 will result in the implementation of a unit lunch for grades 7-8. Students wishing to collaborate on projects during lunch can also take advantage of an eating area in the media center.   

“The purpose of this redesign is to encourage student engagement and development in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity,” said Dr. David Leach, Superintendent of Schools. “These are the pillars of 21st-century learning and job competency. With that in mind, we are also ensuring that we have the professional learning tools and conditions to support teachers and classroom instruction.”  

Additional projects to begin in early summer

Acting on the recommendation of a security audit, the Middle School’s main office will be relocating from the center to the front of the building. Currently occupied by the music suite, the re-purposing of the area will improve administrative operations and create a secure vestibule to keep visitors from direct contact with the student population. “This phase of the Middle School renovations will greatly enhance the safety and security of our students and staff,” Dr. Leach said.

Music programs will be housed in a redesigned and expanded area adjacent to the school cafeteria, commonly referred to as the old computer room.

The work will be completed over the next six months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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