Enrollment has increased in recent years and is projected to continue to increase in coming years, with as many as 149 new high school students joining the district. The increase in enrollment has led to overcrowding and inefficient use of the facilities. Increased class sizes directly impact classroom instruction and student achievement.
In order to appropriately address the enrollment increase, the referendum will fund the following projects:
- Construction of 9 additional classrooms, including theater arts and choral classrooms, which will enhance educational opportunities and alleviate overcrowding.
- Expand STEM curriculum to increase student interest in STEM careers
- Expand and centrally relocate the media center and update multi-media technologies and resources for students and community members
- Applied technology classrooms
- Flexible learning environments to improve communication between students and teachers
Many of the high school classrooms are overcrowded with desks. Teachers have made it clear to the administration that this complicates the way they teach in the classroom. Teachers are no longer able to easily move around the classroom to answer questions and assist students with classwork.
This referendum creates many opportunities for flexible learning spaces to accommodate next century learning for our students. Remodeling of the size of the classroom and configuration of space provides the benefit of movable furniture and walls, varied seating and lighting configurations to enhance the learning experience and build capacity in the buildings. In addition, the reimagined spaces improve accessibility (ADA) for special needs students. As a result of upgrades to the classrooms NB will be able to accommodate for and maintain existing programs with existing staff despite a growth in the student population.
The agriscience program provides students the opportunity to explore careers in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, a key contributor to the economy in our region. As a signature program for the district, upgrades to three greenhouses will maintain and improve the district’s award-winning Agriscience program. Regrouping agriscience classrooms, which are currently co-located, will facilitate teacher collaboration and access to shared resources. Updating and remodeling these classrooms will improve lighting, flooring, water, gas, and electric needs. Increased productivity through efficiency of the greenhouses is anticipated to lead to increased revenue.
Northern Burlington is very fortunate to provide our students with standard scale tools and project materials as opposed to small scale prototypes. The existing building entrances (doors) pose limitations when moving finished products. In addition to updates to improve lighting and flooring, and providing dedicated instructional spaces and student work spaces, larger entrances will alleviate project transportation challenges.
By placing the Counseling Office in the front of the building it will make it more accessible to students, parents and other visitors throughout the school year. This will facilitate parent meetings and create additional visibility to students as well as college and post-secondary visitors. The Counseling Office presently houses seven counselors, the high school registrar office, two secretaries, the Director of Student Services and two academic directors. The redesign will provide office space for our Military Family Life Counselor (MFLAC) as well as the Student Assistance Counselor (SAC).
The current conference room space is not large enough for counselors to hold confidential small group meetings with students and/or participate in department meetings and often times the meetings have to be relocated. Additionally, the walls in the counseling office are extremely thin and do not allow for much confidentiality when meeting with students. Having a new Counseling Department space will allow for more frequent individual and small group meetings with students and allow the counseling team to work more effectively and efficiently.
Reconfigured learning spaces for science will support student collaboration and project based work. The Next Generation Science Standards have shifted science instruction to integrate engineering design practices. This requires larger spaces for design and experimentation. Science teachers presently use all available spaces, including the hallways and outdoors, to “experience” science. Currently science classrooms are divided between instructional spaces in the center of the room and lab stations for collaboration around the perimeter. Re-configuring these spaces changes the focus from dividing these experiences to blending the experiences as the standards require. In addition to the instructional benefits, this project provides much needed general updates to electricity, gas, plumbing and lighting.
Expanding and centrally locating the media center will improve access and collaboration using varied multi-media resources. Our media center program is integral to the school’s technology plan, and provides a place for staff and students to learn information skills needed for a lifetime of success. The media center also supports a variety of self-directed learning styles and interests by providing makerspace resources, and a new space would allow expansion of those programs.
Makerspaces, sometimes called Hackerspaces, can be any area where people gather to make and create. In these spaces, people share supplies, skills, and ideas, and often work together on projects. Many libraries have found that maker culture and Makerspaces fit naturally with their existing missions, and have begun to incorporate Makerspaces into the services they offer their communities. Maker spaces support learning in an informal environment, cultivate an interest in science and technology, foster play and exploration, nurture peer-to-peer learning, and develop a culture of creating as opposed to consuming.
Visual and Performing Arts
The Visual and Performing Arts classrooms are presently in four different wings of our buildings. Relocating the theater arts and choral classrooms will provide closer proximity to their performance areas, while regrouping the arts classrooms will provide access to shared resources. Regaining practice rooms for theater will facilitate multiple components of performance preparation.
“At NB, we believe in educating all students with the best possible programs to prepare them for college and careers. Our mission to inspire the desire means accommodating current and new academic prospects as well as ensuring a safe and secure environment in which to learn. When learning spaces are flexible they provide more modern learning experiences and meet varying needs in academics, instruction, and access to technology. Updates to the school mean improving the center of our community. This is the time to create a center of the community in a fiscally responsible way.”Ms. Mystrena