WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Public schools in Warwick are looking a little different this year as students head back to class on Tuesday.
Superintendent Lynn Dambruch told 12 News there were a handful of new initiatives the district is implementing this year to increase student success.
One initiative is bringing students out of the traditional classroom into outdoor learning spaces throughout the week.
“We want to teach our children that learning doesn’t just happen within four walls and there’s a lot of discovery and excitement by learning outside,” Dambruch said. “These spaces are 21st-century learning spaces where kids can create and collaborate so that’s really exciting.”
These spaces will also help foster another one of Dambruch’s initiatives, student discourse.
“We want students to have conversations with one another. We want to take the lead off the teacher, have the teacher be the facilitator, and have students work through problems, communicate, share ideas, collaborate so those discussions are key,” she said.
The district is also expanding data checks to help students keep up with their achievements.
“We feel that if students have more control of their achievement and their progress by having chats with teachers, like, ‘Here’s your strengths. Here’s where you need to improve,’ that the students will take that initiative and responsibility to work toward their achievement,” Dambruch explained.
Aside from the new initiatives, Sherman Elementary School students can finally go back to class in their new school building. A $7.5 million bond went toward completely renovating the school after being closed two years ago due to a widespread mold problem.
“Every classroom is brand new. Brand new windows, everything was painted so it’s nice and bright. New library space. It just looks beautiful,” Dambruch said.
With Sherman students moving back into their school, Oakland Beach Elementary students will now move into the Gorton Administrative Building while their school gets renovated.
“Oakland Beach had a boiler system that was about ready to fail so we weren’t sure it would make it through the year and instead of it failing in November and then having to move them over mid-year, we just wanted to be proactive and we didn’t want to disrupt their learning,” Dambruch said.
She expects Oakland Beach students to only be displaced for this school year.