HHS, middle school classrooms in constant useIf there was ever any doubt about the efficient use of classroom space at Hudson’s secondary schools, it was laid to rest at the last school board meeting. Hudson High School principal Laura Love and Hudson Middle School principal Dan Koch reported the results of a “room utilization” study they conducted in their respective schools.
Getting creative with space that exists
If there was ever any doubt about the efficient use of classroom space at Hudson’s secondary schools, it was laid to rest at the last school board meeting.
Hudson High School principal Laura Love and Hudson Middle School principal Dan Koch reported the results of a “room utilization” study they conducted in their respective schools. The report was divided into the seven periods of day at HHS and was based on enrollment in the second semester of 2011-12. At the middle school, the study was based on the first trimester schedule of the upcoming year and divided into the nine periods of the school day there.
Of the 99 classroom spaces inventoried at HHS totaling 701 hours per day, the findings were:
--97.1 percent of classrooms were in use for a total of 681 hours.
--93.9 percent of classrooms were utilized more than 80 percent of the time
--Only six classrooms were utilized less than 80 percent of the school day.
Of the 75 classroom spaces inventories at Hudson Middle School totaling 675 classroom hours per day, the findings were:
--92 percent of classrooms were in use for a total of 621 hours.
--88 percent of classrooms were utilized more than 80 percent of the time.
--Nine classrooms were used less than 80 percent of the time.
The space being utilized by the middle school on the campus of Hudson Prairie Elementary was not included in the study.
Board member Sandy Gehrke asked what the principals were doing to address their space needs now, considering that even if the district moves to build a secondary school, it would not be open for several years. “Have you talked about solutions instead of putting the problem off -- like adding space, more teachers, portable classrooms?”
Koch said that he and Love have been regularly reporting on the steps they are taking to deal with the space shortage and to prepare the board for what may come if enrollment continues to increase. Those steps have included an increased number of “teachers on carts” who do not have a classroom of their own but move to open spaces available throughout the school as well increased class sizes and crowding more students into existing classrooms.
Love said that as the situation warrants, they will be looking at how to use the building differently to accommodate the more than 1,700 students expected at the high school this year.
Among the things being done this year are:
-- two art classes using a space together.
--teachers sharing lab spaces for science classes and modifying labs that cannot be done in a regular classroom.
--the use of the commons (carpeted area) for lunch room space.
--using the cafeteria and commons spaces for extremely large study halls.
--taking over conference rooms for teacher-teacher and teacher-student work spaces.
--Adding classroom lab space well into the general LMC area to support two to three classes in that space.
“We will do what is necessary to educate our students but there is a better solution out there and we need to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Love.
Board member Mark Kaisersatt said that board had fallen short of its duty to provide the resources for teachers and staff to do their job. “The economy and the recession have created a headwind but we haven’t delivered and I am not pleased that we have come to this point. We need to do what is necessary to resolve this now.”
Board member Pat German said the situation, especially as it relates to science classes and labs, is critical. “We have found a place. The 60 percent of voters said yes to the dog track. It is cost effective. I am eager to get the dog track turned into a school for our kids and to get the middle school functioning the way it should be. And I’d like it all tomorrow.”