21st Century Learning Environments
There is a great video called, “The Third Teacher” that informed the redesigns of our schools in Milpitas Unified School District. The video speaks about three “teachers” in the lives of students – the classroom teacher, their classmates, and the space where students learn. We typically do not give much thought about the space within a school, but creating the right physical environment is an untapped “third teacher.” In Milpitas Unified, we are creating classroom spaces that are integrated with the redesign of our instructional program.
Over the summer of 2013, we modernized five of our schools: Burnett, Randall, Spangler, Weller, and Rancho Middle School. We replaced floors, carpet, heating and air conditioning systems, and created a learning center on each campus. Our learning centers are large, creative, and support collaborative student work. They include furniture that is flexible and encourages student-centered learning. Students love the new spaces and can’t wait to go to the learning labs on campus. You can view images of our five learning centers on our district website under the community: bond & construction updates. In summer of 2014, six more of our schools will be modernized and will receive their new learning centers: Curtner, Pomeroy, Rose, Sinnott, Russell, and Milpitas High.
We are pleased to announce that construction of a new aquatics center at Milpitas High will begin this fall. The new location of the aquatics center will be along Arizona Avenue which will support better access to the facility for athletics and by the community. The new competition pool will support swimming, diving, and allows us to add water polo as a competitive athletic program. The facility will also include a shallower “warming pool” which is better suited for teaching swimming to beginners. This will be a great addition to our athletic program and to the entire Milpitas community.
The Board of Trustees has made the timely execution of our facilities bond program a top priority. Since the passage of Measure E by the Milpitas community, we have accomplished $21.7 million worth of projects in the first fifteen months. Our phase one projects have been completed on time and under budget, with an estimated savings of $1.95 million. By the end of summer 2014, we will have completed over 50% of our facilities bond program.
We are excited about creating spaces that support quality teaching and learning. Our teachers and students are appreciative of the support from the community as we transform the physical spaces in our schools for 21st Century learning environments.
Occasional thoughts on the progress of our district.