In August 2019, over 2,200 schools will open doors to students in the state of Georgia. A small number of those schools will be brand new. None like this.
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School opens the doors to a brand new Upper School (Grades 9-12) building after a year of construction and years of planning, dreaming, and designing. The building is the physical expression of the School’s mission and vision; innovative, flexible, and relational.
Everything is on castors. All desks are stackable and nest-able. Writable walls move up and down allowing disciplinary classes to combine and become interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary. Smart glass can be adjusted by the touch of an app. Faculty hub spaces are quadrupling. Maker, design, and engineering (MDE) spaces are doubling. Science labs are huge with separate break out spaces. Community spaces will allow for significantly smaller GTD (Getting Things Done) groups. Visual and Performing Arts are predominant on the main floor. And the cafe’ will be the gathering hub for many groups of learners and collaborators.
Moving into a new building provides an opportunity to reset and re-establish cultural norms and expectations. Research suggests a new school building improves learning and student effort.
Reflecting personally, I have learned a great deal in the lead up to opening this new building. Mostly, I have experienced feelings of gratitude. It is truly an honor to be able to participate in the planning, preparation, tours, and imagining of a new school building; especially one as unique as this. In 1939-1940, my grandfather Henry L. Houston was Principal of Miller County High School. The school was new in those days. The role of principal has changed a lot. School itself continues to change; for the needs of this generation of learners. I’m blessed to be part of this legacy.