May 5th 2020 Bond: Teaching & Learning

We are very blessed to
be in Bloomfield Hills. We have a lot of
opportunities for our students and the reality is that
our buildings are old. One of the big pieces
that we run into is space. It’s very difficult to
set up the classroom, to make it work with the
curriculum the way it should. My eighth grade band is 39 students. I can’t fit 39 students in my room, so I’ve two small bands and the only time they ever get to play together
is at the performance. We have spaces now that we are confined to the structure and by
using flexible seating, flexible furniture, flexible wall spaces we’ll be able to make the classroom space how we want to for the learning activity versus having the
learning activity be only within that space that we currently have. If you’re teaching a class
of 10 to 20 three-year-olds you need to be able to adapt your plans. They might need their wiggles out, we might need to get up and do a music and movement activity. So the Bond would really help create larger spaces for the
children to adapt easily. Some of the exciting
things about potentially changing the space is creating spaces where whatever a student’s
needs are that day, we’re able to meet them
within the learning setting. When students have
accessible rooms and spaces that they feel confident
in and comfortable in, they really shine, they
show us their skills, they’re able to learn
more because all the tools are right there at their fingertips. Creating the spaces for kids to learn a language that they want or giving them the space to really enhance their drama and their musical passions, we can push our students
and push our teaching and learning even further. One of the things that we are
really, truly hoping to do is to give each building a
sensory space for students. We want to make sure that students with anxiety or ADHD are able to work with a social worker or counselor so that they can get back to their learning environment more quickly. Every student deserves the opportunity to have access to the curriculum no matter what their learning needs are. It’s hard for them to get around, there’s not accessible bathrooms,
there’s not ramps places. We’re trying to protect
the student’s dignity by giving them as much
independence as we can. If a kid has caused harm and we’re trying to repair that, make it right, we need a space to be able
to have a conversation with parents that is both private but also, like, conducive
to that type of environment. Larger spaces where students know they can find their social worker or their counselor at
all parts of the day. In education, technology
plays a huge role. I think about the
investment that our district made in our technology in 2005. Much of the technology
that was invested then was state of the art, had a
lifespan of seven to nine years. And here we are 15 years later and we’re using some of
that same technology. I just know that there’s
so much more potential then we are able to provide our students to makerspaces or the STEM
Labs or the innovative hubs, and the different spaces
that we can create so students can go and
engage and kind of interact with their learning in
a more meaningful way. Incredible things are happening everyday and I think with this Bond
we can push our students and push our teaching and
learning even further. This Bond is not just for
the next five or 10 years, this Bond is a 50 year
vision of what can happen. Here is the year 2020,
and with our 2020 vision we are looking forward to
the next 50 to 60 years in terms of what we can provide our students in Bloomfield Hills Schools.

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