Space, lighting, furniture, color, and climate impact our mindset and set the stage for how we learn and work.Think about how this is true in different coffee shops around town: some have spacious seating areas and high ceilings, others have quaint interiors with small cubbies for study and soft chatter. Then there are those that are stark and utilitarian, with faucets or toilets that aren’t always in good condition; consequently, they are not inviting spaces for learning and the community.
With the passing of Measure E in 2012, the community support enabled Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) to create a learning center at every school in which the physical environment is inviting, flexible, and inspiring. When the learning space was opened at Rose Elementary School, Principal Nanci Pass said the students were thrilled and she heard exclamations such as “Wow!” and “We get to learn in here?!” The library at Milpitas High School was transformed and is now a media center with quiet areas and small meeting alcoves, similar to those at our public library on Main Street. These spacious and flexible learning centers inspire collaboration amongst students and offer teams of teachers a place to bring their students together for interdisciplinary projects. Our learning centers mimic the kind of work environment that exists at many companies in Milpitas such as Flex, Cisco, and View Dynamic Glass. In that sense, they are preparing our students for future work requiring creativity and collaboration, and using technology as a tool for learning. The funds from Measure E provided our students with school improvements and enabled us to address many projects in need of repair or renovation. Additionally, Measure E allowed us to secure land and build Phase I of our 10th elementary school, Mabel Mattos Elementary, scheduled for opening the fall of 2018. View our public service announcement at this link for an overview of all the work we completed with Bond 2012 funding; we are truly grateful for the community’s support!
MUSD is ever evolving and seeking innovative ways that we can improve the conditions for learning and working in our schools. There are many areas of need for the future, and additional infrastructure improvements must be made to maintain our capacity for growth. For example, routers and switches are being replaced this summer so that our staff and students can access the Internet without interruption. However, we will need to replace 50 percent of our student Chromebooks in the next four years, about 4,000 to 5,000 devices. Our upper elementary grade students living in the Mattos Elementary School enrollment area will not be able to attend their home school without the construction of Phases II and III. We are excited about future teaching and learning pathways for our high school students, and we will need to provide them with additional classroom space while renovating existing structures to meet the needs that new opportunities for teaching and learning present.
We are now at the crucial point of opportunity and action. Let’s engage in conversation about how we can think differently about time, space, and place to create a remarkable school learning experience in the future for our Milpitas youth. This summer we will have opportunities for the staff, students, parents, and community to do just that, starting with a Town Hall meeting on June 5 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Milpitas San Jose Evergreen Community College Extension at Ben Gross Education Park, 1450 Escuela Parkway, to discuss future facilities plans. On August 9, we will have a second Town Hall meeting for those who would like to come but are not able to attend on June 5. Additionally, on August 7 we will hold a MUSD Community Convening to envision a day in the life of our future students; please email Lori Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.
We are also reaching out to staff, parents, and the community (we have developed a separate survey specific to students) through a survey. Your input will help inform our facilities planning for future repairs, remodeling, and school buildings. Please access the survey by clicking here, and be sure to complete by June 30, 2017.