A message from Superintendent Charles Smialek, Ph.D.
February 10, 2020
We continue to plan for the potential of constructing new secondary campuses, a proposition we understand will be dependent upon the passage of a bond issue in November.
Our Faculty Facilities Steering Committee (FFSC) visited last week two recently constructed secondary campuses: North Olmsted and Lake (Local) in Stark County. The FFSC consists of groups of teachers from each of our six secondary schools.
We will continue to solicit the input of other stakeholder groups throughout the months that lead to our ballot initiative, but we have begun our work with teachers as research has shown that their input into the design of new classrooms is most critical to raising student achievement.
Both North Olmsted and Lake contained examples of 21st-century elements, including, most noticeably collaborative spaces. Collaborative spaces are open areas that multiple classrooms share. Lounge-like in nature, they are designed to allow students to more easily interact on cooperative projects than traditional classrooms can facilitate. Lake featured one collaborative space per every four high school classrooms while North Olmsted included one collaborative space per high academic department.
Both school campuses featured the pod model (four classrooms surrounding a studio area) in their middle school wings. Most classrooms also contained “garage doors” on at least one wall so that teachers can choose to open their traditional space into the common collaboration area.
After visiting both campuses, our FFSC returned to the district office to process their observations, looking for consensus points we should consider as we design our schools. Clearly, we have much work to do to pass a bond issue, but we are grateful for our teachers’ willingness to begin the important work of envisioning their future learning spaces.
We look forward to soon beginning to engage our Parent/Student and Community Steering Committees to gather their respective perspectives. Please visit our website (www.parmacityschools.org/superintendent) to register to participate.