New innovative Rockland elementary school could reinvent education
ROCKLAND - A brand-new elementary school on the South Shore could change the game. The Phelps Elementary School in Rockland was finished nine months ahead of schedule and significantly under budget.
"As you turn each corner of this building it's like what we envisioned," incoming Phelps Principal Michelle Scheufele said. "We envisioned neighborhood pods, common areas to learn, to teach and learn in, and I think one of the biggest excitements is just seeing everything we thought come alive."
"We've taken three elementary schools and we're combining them into one," Superintendent Alan Cron said.
And it's all being done in the name of collaboration.
"I've never seen a school designed quite this way, so we're excited about that and all of the opportunities it will give our kids and our teachers to teach cooperatively," Cron said.
Scheufele says the unique design gives teachers the opportunity to reinvent education.
"You know we haven't even begun to think about what we can do," Scheufele said. "Just looking at these spaces I think it's going to evolve and we're going to be able to do some amazing things here. So excited about that."
Right now, only the students at Memorial Park Elementary call the school home. But in the fall, two other schools will join, about 760 students in all.
Superintendent Alan Cron said the decision to build one large school for all of the elementary students creates equity in the community.
"So, one kid isn't going to go to the old school while the other gets to go to the new school," Cron said. "Everyone gets to enjoy the new technology, the new opportunities."
Memorial Park Principal Jan Sheehan is thrilled to see her students taking advantage of it all.
"Even walking into the classrooms, I see such a difference in the way that students are reacting to this new space and how they're working and how their teachers are effectively using the technology and the spaces within this building," Sheehan said. "It's incredible."
"My reason that I do this is that I want my students to feel important and to feel noticed and when I watch these kids, we have given them a message you are important," Scheufele said. "We built this for you, it's just exciting to see."
When all of the work is finished, there will be one large campus for the high school, middle school and elementary school.
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