September 29, 2016
By Ed Byrne The Brillion News
One school, K-12, opens new doors for learning
HILBERT – When the new school year started, high and middle school students in Hilbert were faced with a new danger: miniature people wandering their school building.
With the addition of a new wing and a second gym, the School District of Hilbert moved its 4K-4 program from the old elementary school building on State 57/32 to new quarters on the campus at Milwaukee and Eleventh Streets.
Now all of the district’s programs are under one roof.
It was a vision that Superintendent Tony Sweere had been pursuing for several years, and now the district has one comprehensive school building.
The single building concept should mean cost savings for taxpayers, but Sweere and Hilbert Elementary grades Principal Amy Schmitz feel the educational benefits are the big thing.
The new elementary grades wing of the “one roof school” consists of three suites: one for early childhood, 4K and 5K kindergarten; another for grades one and two; and the third for grades three and four.
Each suite has four classrooms, a large “collaboration” area, small group workroom, storage room and bathrooms.
As a result, the hallways through the elementary school wing are usually deserted.
“You don’t have lockers in the hallway, so you don’t hear them banging,” Sweere said. “That has really helped instruction as well. It is a calming environment and the kids are more relaxed.”
“There is less distraction,” Schmitz said. “They have their collaborative area, with their bathrooms and lockers.”
The collaborative area is much like a foyer that serves all of the classrooms in the suite. It can be used for study group, and can also be used to gather all of the kids in the suite together.
The teachers in each suite share a storage room and work room, and the suite concept encourages teachers and students to work together.
The design of the elementary school wing was modeled after Lake Mills Elementary School, which advocates a “learning neighborhood environment.”
Sweere said the Hilbert elementary school teachers are beginning to see the possibilities of the design concept.
“I’m surprised at how quickly they’re adapted … in resources sharing and communication,” Sweere said. “It opens up new possibilities [for teaching].”
Please see the complete story in the September 29, 2016 edition of The Brillion News.