New science rooms get upgraded


Henry Norwood

New Designs: Science classrooms undergo upgraded classroom and furniture which include new seating and upgraded layout.

Jame Sewell, staff writer

South’s administration has begun a new project to restyle classrooms in order to improve learning experiences for students, Casey Wright, Associate Principal for Administrative Services, said. For the Science Department, the change started with a pilot room where new seats, desks, and floors have been tested, he added.

The new seating arrangement will help students work more efficiently in contrast to the old seating arrangement that isolated students with widespread seats, Jeff Rylander, Science Department Instructional Supervisor, said. 

“We want to design active learning environments focused on collaboration and critical thinking,” Rylander said. “[When] we provide seating where students can sit together, [they can] be collaborative.”

While using the pilot classroom, Science Teachers Despina Mandarino and Jeff Paek agree that the new furniture has altered the way students learn, leading to a greatly enhanced learning environment, Paek said.

[We are now] able to see how the kids are doing [and] quickly access [those] who need help,” Paek said. “It is easier to approach kids who do not like to ask for help because we can see who is struggling.”

Since students were involved in the furniture choices by providing their feedback, they had a direct influence on the new furniture set up, Mandarino said.

Sophomore Tanner Treger, a student who uses the pilot classroom, recognized that the furniture changes were a major improvement. He felt the administration was very responsive and helped make classrooms more comfortable and productive.

“[The changes] were more focused on what the students wanted [rather] than the teachers,” Treger said. “[After a]  [decision among the students] on specific [furniture], we switched to that [set up].”

Overall, South’s administration sees the changes as a success, Wright said. He hopes that these changes in the Science pilot classroom can be incorporated into all classrooms at South.

“When I walk down the hallways and see active learning and collaboration [with the new changes], I know we [reached] the goal,” Wright said. “It is gratifying to see that [the furniture changes] were not just in theory.”