Proposed school renovations, expansion enrich LHS proud academic tradition

Guest Opinion

Over the course of my teaching career, educational content and methods have evolved a lot, but unfortunately the Luverne Middle School/High School building has not kept up with the many changes.

It is clear that the current middle school classrooms in particular are no longer adequate for the 21st-century teacher and student.

Students must learn skills like collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking to succeed in today’s economy. Those skills aren’t just learned in lectures, they are learned through individual and small group projects that require breakout space and technology access that classrooms designed in the middle of the last century simply don’t provide.

Here’s an example: In my math classroom, we frequently do quick checks to see where students are with their understanding of a particular standard. And as you would guess, students have different needs. Some need help with linear tables, others understand tables and need help with graphs, and still others need help with both. And of course, there are students who have grasped the concepts and are ready to move on. At that point the classroom definitely needs differentiation.

Instruction must happen at each student's level of need. So one group of students might grab computers and practice finding slope on graphs. Others might partner up and work together quizzing each other on linear tables. A small group will need one-on-one instruction from me directly or watch a video to get some extra instruction. The group of students who have already demonstrated the knowledge for the standard might be given a challenge of doing an experiment to develop their own linear data and make graphs and tables. 

Needless to say, in a small classroom this creates unnecessary chaos. We need room to spread out and let students take ownership of their learning process and have their individual needs met.

The school board has proposed a plan to be decided by voters that would solve this space issue by renovating and expanding middle school classrooms. Local residents will decide whether our middle school space needs are met in a referendum on Nov. 7.

Questions on the ballot that day also address the need for a secure entrance, a new cafeteria and the addition of science labs, music rooms and physical education space in the middle school/high school, as well as improvements to the elementary school, plus the construction of a new community performing arts center.

The current middle school classrooms are designed for how we were taught in the past, not how our students learn now.

From my perspective, the school board plan includes the much-needed renovations and expansion we need to continue Luverne Public Schools’ proud academic tradition.

The district website has a lot of information about school needs and how the school board plan addresses them.

Make sure you know the facts and then make sure you vote on the future of our community schools.

 

Becky Rahm is a middle school math teacher for Luverne Public Schools.

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