BY RYAN MERARD
After being offered $100,000 to better their school in any way they feel fit, most principals would carefully consider how to spend that money. Over the past couple of months, Principal Wendy Doll and the School Advisory Council (SAC) have been debating where this money should be used, aiming to make the decision that would most benefit the learning environment at CCHS.
The Safety, Music, Arts, Athletics, Renovations and Technology (SMART) program allocated $100,000 to every principal in Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). These funds are intended to be used to improve the learning environments of each school.
How this money will be distributed to enhance CCHS has been a recurring topic at recent SAC meetings, where teachers, parents, students and staff come together once a month to discuss future goals for CCHS.
The council made the school enhancement bond the main focus of November’s meeting. At first, plans such as a teacher break room in the 3400 building and an ID tracking system were on the table. Later, the more popular ideas for the bond became media center renovations and improvement of technology.
“… The only time that the media center would be closed is if there is a large number of students that have to be tested.”
One concern that some parents of the council voiced is the frequency of the media center being closed, claiming that the money should be spent elsewhere if it is not easily accessible. However, Principal Doll explained how she will make extra efforts to keep the library open “98% of the time.”
“I’ve made a commitment [with media specialist] Ms. Aylsworth that the only time that the media center would be closed is if there is a large number of students that have to be tested,” Principal Wendy Doll said. “Plus, starting December 2, we have a schedule to pay additional staff to keep the media center open at [6:45 a.m.] before Ms. Aylsworth comes in at 7:15 a.m., and after school for teachers.”
Some of the renovation ideas for the media center brought up were to make the library more student-friendly. Student Assessment Specialist Melissa Megna suggested buying tables with outlets for students to charge their laptops while studying with others.
“The media center should not be just a library, but a cooperative learning center as well,” Megna said.
Even if students are not using the library, some teachers find it beneficial to have the media center open longer, as it allows access to necessary technology like the copy machine.
“The library is one of the most necessary parts of a school.”
“Whether students use the media center or not—to a degree, I think we will find that they will—but I will tell you that teachers need access,” history teacher Peggy Wilfong said. “It’s been a huge concern before school and after school with copying, scantron machines and anything else, so we are happy about [keeping the library open longer].”
For technology, the school plans to have a computer cart for every single classroom. According to Principal Doll, the school would have to acquire at least 60 more computer carts to achieve this goal. As of now, computer carts are regularly rotated between classrooms. With technology use in education steadily rising, the council aims to have one laptop for every student at CCHS in the near future.
Other planned technological refinements are upgrades to teachers’ laptops and the installment of new projection systems in classrooms.
After deliberating several ideas, the council finally came to a majority vote for no more than $65,000 of the school enhancement bond to be allocated to media center renovations. The rest is to be used on technological improvements.
“The library is one of the most necessary parts of a school,” Guidance Director Ronald Ziccardi said. “… So why not invest as much possible funds as we can to better the environment for the students.”
Photo by Makinzi Burgs