|Above: Jarvis Public School's Learning Commons was enhanced thanks to community support.|
Community Support Enhances Jarvis Public School's Learning Commons Renovation
TUESDAY, NOV. 30, 2021
Work is now complete on the transformation of Jarvis Public School's library into a learning commons, a project enhanced by community support, thanks to an impressive fundraising effort even a global pandemic couldn't curtail.
"The timelines of this project just happened to coincide with the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much like everything else in our lives, there was a lot of uncertainty," said Cynthia Gozzard, principal at Jarvis Public School, who noted that the school council, comprised of parents of students, raised $5,000 towards the project. "But despite the challenges, the school council has worked tirelessly, tapping into the power of this incredible community to support what will become an asset for generations to come."
A learning commons is a vibrant, multi-use space that is designed to facilitate engagement, collaboration, creative thinking and problem solving. Everything from the technology and resources available to the furniture in the space is meant to invite exploration and experimentation so students can find their strengths, interests, and determine how they learn best. It also boasts improved energy conservation, and will be an inspiring space that can be used in many ways.
"This renovation project was a planned partnership between Grand Erie's Facility Services team, the school and school council, and also allowed us to invest in a water refill station, Kindergarten cubby spaces, updated electrical and networking capabilities."
"This renovation project was a planned partnership between Grand Erie's Facility Services team, the school and school council, and also allowed us to invest in a water refill station, Kindergarten cubby spaces, updated electrical and networking capabilities," explained Gozzard. "This comprehensive approach, and impressive fundraising effort, meant that we could address the specific needs of our growing community, and best support students' learning outcomes."
With the pandemic limiting everything from in-person events to deliveries to the school, a 'contactless' approach was necessary to build relationships and raise funds. The school council used social media to share information, and formed a partnership with local eatery MC's Outback and farm-to-table meat suppliers VG Meats, which supported the efforts through the sale of takeout meals - a staple of the pandemic - and other grassroots initiatives.
"Families really liked that they were supporting local businesses during a difficult period and our school at the same time," said Lynn Alliston, chair of the school council. "We worked hard to be creative about how to raised funds while keeping everyone safe, and this has enabled the learning commons to have additional features including flexible seating and mobile shelves."
Grand Erie's multi-year plan includes the collective priority to build a culture of learning to nurture curiosity and opportunity for each learner.
"The conversion of older library spaces into learning commons is a district-wide priority, and so far, approximately half the schools in Grand Erie have been updated to better meet the needs of today's learners," said JoAnna Roberto, Director of Education for Grand Erie. "It's very exciting to see the changes at Jarvis Public School, and I know this will be a welcoming, inspiring space to work, learn and explore."
Projects such as Jarvis Public School's learning commons renovation support Grand Erie's priorities, and partnerships with the wider school community further enhance inclusive, responsive environments to build belonging.