Last Friday, I had the privilege of serving as Principal for a Day at Otter Creek Elementary School in School District U-46. Otter Creek is a school that we designed several years ago. I told the Principal, Jeff Bragg, that I was impressed with the condition of the school. It has been meticulously cared for – looking the same as it did when we had the ribbon cutting!
As Principal for a Day, I visited all of the classes and spoke with the teachers and students. They love the school, particularly with the size of the rooms, as well as all of the windows and natural light. Jeff explained how Otter Creek is incorporating 21st Century Learning into the curriculum. The students are doing a lot of teaming, on-line research, and project based learning. A program that was particularly interesting was a Dual Language Program (not ESL). This is an elective program. English speaking and Spanish speaking students are in the class together. This follows an immersion model, where part of the school day is taught in English and part is taught in Spanish. Parents are very happy with their students’ progress, enrolling multiple students into the program.
As we walked through the school, I shared with Jeff the programmatic reasons for the school being designed as it was. He certainly appreciated that insight. I also explained all of the security features that were designed into the school; particularly related to access and visual control. He appreciated that insight, as well.
At times, I was also being interviewed by the students. Among other questions, I was asked why I wanted to be an architect, what is my favorite project, how much does an architect make?
I love speaking with the students, and being in the classroom! Hopefully I will be invited again next year.