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The Library will soon turn into the Learning Commons with a Café operated by the Life Skills students
June 11, 2018
Seriously, this is actual breaking news. Our school is finally taking a new turn; The Knoch High School Library is turning into the Knoch High School Learning Commons, which includes a café operated by our very own Life Skills students.
As the years, months, weeks, hours, minutes, and seconds go by, more and more school libraries are jumping on this bandwagon.
Here, let me give you a quick rundown of how all of this came to be:
“Four years ago, I went and looked at another school district that had redesigned their library space and they had a café that was run by their Life Skills students. said Mrs. Copeland, the librarian. “So then we started to research models and ideas of how we could do a library with a café here to serve our needs,”
So, that’s how it was determined that the library space would be totally transformed.
I’m really excited for those of you who will be able to see the Commons next year.”
Let’s be real though. Most people really only jump on a bandwagon when there is something worthwhile, something that they can get out of it. There are many different benefits of this new library space that will be advantageous to the entire student body and all of the administrators and various departments as well.
Copeland said, “The reasoning for it is twofold. Number one, the Life Skills students currently go outside of the school district to get work skills, so this means they will still be able to learn all those skills and also operate a service here on campus.”
Many of the students work around town. Some work at Concordia, Meals on Wheels, and many more.
“The second benefit is that since they will be doing it on campus they will get to interact with the rest of the student body,” said Copeland. “They will get to know more students because most of the students they know are usually on their bus or in their class not so much the entire student body,” “The reverse benefit is that the student body will have more experiences and relationships with the Life Skills students instead of them being a separate entity that is just in the school.”
Mrs. Leech is the Life Skills teacher here at Knoch.
“We are trying to get things ready in house so students that are younger will start here before they go out into the community,” said Leech. “It’s going to be like a bridge to give them more vocational experience. It’s going to help them with inclusion building, independence, and getting them ready for the next step when they graduate from high school.”
Mrs. Leech expressed that community based vocational training is a huge and important part of her curriculum for the Life Skills students. The café will serve a huge part in preparing them for that next step. Not only that, it will also provide them with opportunities to expand their horizons in this school. They deserve to be recognized as part of the student body, and this café will help the students to know these kids.
Not only is opening up the café an incredible and important milestone, but so is the transformation of the library space.
“A lot of libraries are switching their space to have different learning and working environments. This is because today’s learning is different than how it was when I was in school,” said Copeland.
Copeland said, “When I was in school, you wanted complete silence when you were studying. Now, the majority needs to have some background noises because our world has so much background noise in it.”
Copeland hopes more teachers take advantage of the new library space.
“Prior to the Chromebook push, it was typically English and history classes that came to the library to do their research and to have class,” said Copeland.
“Now, with the new learning and working spaces, it will hopefully entice all of the departments to realize that if they wanted to change the atmosphere of their classes they can bring their class down,” With the fast pace that our society and technology is growing, it’s very valuable to keep everything up to date. Although it’s a huge changeup, it’ll be nice to try something new, something different. It’ll be like taking a big breath of fresh air.
“Especially now with the technology and writable space, it will make it more possible for classes like science, math, or robotics to do that,” Copeland said.
Finally, let’s get to how it will actually look like.
“The whole room is going to change, said Copeland. “It’s going to have more of a college library and a relaxing Barnes and Noble-y type feel.”
When you walk in, you’ll be able to see the welcome circulation desk, which Mrs. Copeland likes to call it her ‘Command Center’. From there she is able to view the whole room. To the left is the collaboration room, which is basically a glass cased room where meetings are held, and yes, students will have access to it. Then to the right is the café in the corner with some booths and café tables and this big lounge couch. The zen area, for relaxation, with different types of seating will be by the big window. This area will also include large hydroponic tanks where vegetation will be grown. To the left will be a classroom section that will have lots of white erase boards that will obviously serve as writable surfaces (There are even white erase board tables!). There will also be a huge interactive TV monitor to teach lessons on.
Although I’m a senior and I won’t personally be able to see and use the new library space, I’m really excited for those of you who will be able to next year. What’s even more exciting is that this is going to benefit not only the current Knoch students but the future ones too. I really hope all of you will cherish it.