Task force to create modern classroom

Remodeling begins Presidents Day weekend in C367

Ethan Brown

BLUEPRINT copy2Freshman Deonta Miller looked at the layout for the remodeling of his civics classroom, excited for the opportunity to participate with new equipment and a flexible learning environment.

“I became interested when I heard about having more technology,” Miller said. “I think it’ll make working in class much easier for students.”

Ninth grade civics teacher Mike Nordean’s classroom, C367, will be the first within St. Louis Park Schools to receive a redesign from a new task force called the Learning Design Team (LDT), according to superintendent Rob Metz.

Metz said the task force will begin fully evaluating district facilities in March, with hopes of bringing a referendum — a direct vote on a single political question — on facility upgrades to taxpayers in November 2017.

Nordean said the LDT chose his class because of the full wall already built in, compared to collapsible walls in other C3 rooms.

Metz, who helps lead the LDT, said he hopes the remodeling of Nordean’s classroom creates a better class environment.

“The idea is more flexibility, so the furniture is all moveable and on wheels,” Metz said. “If a teacher wants rows (of desks), they can have rows. If they want tables, they can have tables.”

Nordean said he looks forward to having the added technology and mobility in his classroom, attributing his eagerness to past teaching experience.

“I don’t have a problem being the guinea pig,” Nordean said. “I’ve taught for 20-something years and have been at the junior high and high school, as well as in the district office and a summer school principal. All those things give me a view of things that other teachers don’t have.”

Freshman Nechama Buchbinder, a student in Nordean’s class, said she hopes more technology results in more chances for students to finish classwork.

“The more technology we have, the more work we’ll be able to get done in class,” Buchbinder said. “I think it’ll help a lot with getting homework done.”

Nordean said although the remodeling will present new opportunities, he also understands it may take time to adjust to a completely new classroom.

“It’ll be a learning curve because it’s going to present nuances to a classroom where desks sometimes help,” Nordean said. “This configuration might exacerbate issues like who’s going to sit on the couches, or noise when they’re working in groups.”

Nordean said he not only looks forward to being the first classroom with new equipment, but believes the room will be easier to facilitate as a teacher.

“I think that there will be less clutter in the room,” Nordean said. “(The new configuration) should streamline or simplify the classroom layout. I can see everything being a cleaner show.”

According to Metz, the district plans to create four other task forces, all of which will begin operations in other schools within the district. These task forces handle matters such as evaluating the Gifted & Talented program and improving communications within St. Louis Park schools.

Metz said the room will be remodeled during Presidents Day weekend.