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Island Park schools to revamp tech, art rooms in 2020

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Island Park’s Francis X. Hegarty Elementary and Lincoln Orens Middle Schools will receive more building upgrades in summer 2020, this time to its art and technology classrooms.

At the elementary school, the art classroom will be renovated. At the middle school, the main office, art classroom, technology education and science research lab will all see improvements, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosmarie Bovino and Assistant Superintendent Vincent Randazzo.

“We’re really excited about all of it, and each one we’ve been really involved in,” Bovino said. “It will enhance both teaching and learning in the schools.”

The updates are coming at a time when new technology is available for hands-on learning in the areas of art and science. Each new classroom will receive new demonstration projectors that can record lessons, as well as moveable desks and seats to aid student collaboration.

Teachers helped with designing the new classroom layouts that “break away from traditional lab settings” and encourage students to work in research groups, Bovino said. “The furniture moves,” she explained, “and the different kinds of projection are needed in order for students to become visual learners, so they can see everything that’s going on.”

The middle school’s art classroom will have some exciting new additions, school officials noted, including a pottery wheel and embroidery machine that can be programmed through computer programs. In addition, the S.T.E.M. classroom will have a 3-D clay printer and laser cutting machine.

While the tech-ed classroom is receiving advanced technology, Randazzo said, students will still have stations to use small hand tools in the class. “It’s really important is to make students college and career ready and to compete in a global economy,” he said of the upcoming changes.

“Children are very much into art,” he added, “and they watch YouTube videos where you see two hands drawing.”

With the new overhead projecting system, students could produce their own videos. Also, if a child misses a class or needs to see something again, teachers can share the recording of that lesson.

The middle school’s main office will also get upgrades, and “the design will be purposeful in a way that it never was,” Bovino said.

Secretarial staff gave input into the new designs. The layout will allot for more privacy in some areas of the office, while providing space for children and parents coming in and out of the office. The design was based on “what makes most sense in terms of expediting work that needs to get done in a conscientious way, as well as creating areas that work to take care of students throughout the day,” Bovino said.

Construction in both schools will begin after the 2019-20 school year ends. These are expected to be the last renovations in a years-long effort to upgrade school facilities, official said. Also, unlike last summer when students integrated into Long Beach’s summer activities due to construction, Island Park’s summer programs will resume as usual in 2020.