Saturday, March 14, 2009

Checking out my new home

I am still having trouble getting used to the idea that in less than three months I will no longer be a South Middle School teacher.

That title has been a huge part of my identity for the past six years, and it is a title I carry with pride. But that will all come to an end June 1 when the 2008-2009 school year comes to a close. On that day, I will turn in my key, and make sure my belongings are all boxed and ready to be moved to East Middle School.

After parent-teacher conferences Friday, the SMS staff toured East Middle School, the first time we had been there since the lion's share of the construction was completed.

There is no other way to say it- We were stunned. We knew things were going to be far bigger and better than in our little school, but we had no idea how much better.

When Lara Stamper, our sixth grade science and drama teacher saw her science room for the first time, the tears began to flow. If she hadn't already seen the science room, the same thing would have happened when she saw her drama classroom a few moments later. "My science room was a little overwhelming," she said.

We began our tour in the office, then we looked at an ISS room that is not located in what we lovingly call "the dungeon." The thoroughly modern lockers that line the hallways will be a vast improvement over the haphazard collection we have now. It will be a welcome change to have lockers that work.

The classrooms are far bigger and have room for all of our books, though they will be in cabinets and not on shelves. (Believe me, I am not complaining.)

For the first time, our students will have a gymnasium and it is gargantuan, compared to the combination gym/stage we have now. There is enough room to hold two physical education classes, and we will actually be able to have volleyball and basketball games here.

The auditorium is state of the art with speakers galore. No longer we will have to suffer all summer with the muddy audio when the end-of-school talent show is aired repeatedly on Jet 14.

My favorite part of the tour was watching my fellow staff members react to each new revelation. Lara had exactly the right word; it was overwhelming. Joyce Wall pretty much said it for everyone:

"I never believed in my life that I would be working in a brand-new school like this."

(The video shows construction taking place in the auditorium as the tour continues.)


Anonymous said...

Why so many cops hanging around? Were they afraid that the teachers were going to get too excited? The JPD has at least three too many officers.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing the photos. Hope u enjoy the new digs with the kids.


Anonymous said...

Why is South moving to EAST? Who's moving to the NEW South?

Randy said...

About 80 percent of the current South students are in the eastern part of the district, so we will stay with those students. The staff at Memorial will move to East, which will have most of that school's current students. To make things even more confusing, while Memorial is still at the current Memorial site this fall waiting for the new South to be completed, North students will move to the old South to attend school for the first semester while renovations are being completed at North. My understanding is when these projects are completed, the district will use Memorial for some kind of educational purpose and will see if any not-for-profit groups would be interested in the old South building.