If you’ve been following my blog throughout this school year, you’ve probably seen some of the info and pics I’ve been sharing about Project Reimagine, the transformation of our traditional MS/HS school library into a modern-day media center.
Besides permitting students to use their mobile devices, the highlight of this space is the café, which became fully functional on December 9. Staffed by an instructional aide and the combination of regular and special education students, middle and high school students can now visit the media center during study halls to complete assignments, work on projects and………enjoy hot drinks and breakfast items in the morning as well as a variety of snacks, pastries and drinks in the afternoon.
While some students talk, hang out and sip their cup of Joe, many of them do something one might not expect in this hip environment—learn! How to interact and communicate with their peers; How to operate kitchen equipment; How to enter info into a POS system; How to provide friendly customer service… And so many real-life skills that no book, device or app (in isolation) could ever provide!
In fact, B-A’s unique hub of learning that provides all of our student with various opportunities was recently featured on a local news broadcast.
The transcript of the news broadcast can be read below, but check out the super cool video segment here!
A huge shout out to WTAJ News multimedia journalist Jackie Padilla for producing such a fabulous story about our media center and our students. Your piece is a perfect depiction of why we developed such a concept in our district! ♥
Bellwood, Blair County, Pa.
At Bellwood Antis High School, traditional study hall is a thing of the past.
Now students are encouraged to sign up for an elective where they are in charge.
At the beginning of the school year the high school opened a new media center.
A cafe is next door to a tech help desk–both are run by students.
Jamie Forshey, the Director of Instructional Technology and Media, kick-started the idea.
“I just wanted to sort of create an atmosphere where students could feel comfortable and learn,” Forshey said.
Both workshops officially got up and running in December.
Kermit Foor, a junior, said it creates a comfortable environment for students to work together.
Foor is just one of 11 students students and faculty can go to for any technical difficulties.
He said it’s a good feeling knowing staff believe students are up to the task.
“I think this school is very unique because I think this is one of the things in the district that no one else has done yet,” Foor said.
Typically there’s a student working either station at all times, along with a teacher.
It’s also a learning hub for Special Education students.
Brandon Bickle is a senior in the Special Education Department and said these programs help better prepare students for the future.
Among other tasks, students can take orders and credit their peers accounts; much like they would at a retail job.
“When you’re working in the cafe you don’t learn from a book,” Bickle said.
Carol Beard, the Special Education Director, said “This is an opportunity for him to get skills that when he goes out and is looking for a job, he already has some experience to bring to the table.”
“It may not look like a whole lot of learning is taking place here but actually, there is a lot of learning,” Forshey said.
According to the district, the project cost about $11,000.
Forshey said all the funding came from the Bellwood School District Foundation and local donations.
Stay tuned for additional updates regarding the progress of our café…
In the meantime, learn more about Project Reimagine by checking out the following posts: