Many changes and renovations have been made throughout the Council Bluffs Community School District in recent years. As Kirn Middle School moves into their renovated building, and Wilson Middle School is temporarily operating on the Madison Campus, both schools face challenges and benefits in adjusting to their new space.
Kirn Middle School students and staff spent the 2019-2020 school year at the Madison Campus awaiting the new building’s advancement. They have officially moved back into the new and improved building for many years to come.
With the challenge of getting acquainted with their new surroundings, they also have the additional challenge of implementing COVID-19 procedures.
“With us not really knowing traffic patterns and how kids are going to navigate the building we did our best to guess how to create the hallway directions and things like that,” new principal Amanda Jens said. “We had one new staircase in our eighth grade commons that we had to create so it wasn’t up only since it’s so narrow.”
They have also added water bottle filling stations around the building to minimize the spreading of germs and bacteria.
Wilson Middle School is also facing new challenges this school year as they are now at Madison Campus waiting for the renovations to their building. The secondary location is slightly smaller than their primary location, which adds to the already difficult task of social distancing. Along with adjusting to the temporary campus, Wilson, along with other CBCSD schools have had to make adjustments and experiment with new technology in order to create a safe and effective learning environment.
“Our technology has had its ups and downs at Madison Campus. Teachers have really engaged in learning how to use the OWL Cameras, Google Meet, and Clear Touch screens during lessons,” Naughton said. “When it is working the technology can be awesome, when it’s not working it can be frustrating for students, parents, and teachers.”
Kirn, too, has faced similar problems with the cooperation of technology, but it’s nothing they can’t handle.
“The tools themselves as far as the OWL Camera and how to use a Google Meet are not an issue, teachers have really jumped on board in figuring out the OWL Camera,” Jens said. “There’s a certain computer that’s not holding the bandwidth very well. It seems like several of the Kirn teachers have that computer.”
Although computers have been an issue at Kirn, a solution is already being planned in order to alleviate the dilemma.
“That is in the process of being fixed, the district has purchased additional devices and to my knowledge those are in and being distributed this week,” said Jens.
As the building finished their remodel last summer including new renovations, reactions have been overall very positive.
“When we had our back to school night parents were very impressed with the building,” said Jens. “It looks completely different.”
Along with building updates, students at Kirn Middle School will also have access to new technology once it is determined safe by the district.
“We have the clear touch screens out in the commons, tables that are whiteboards that will be able to be propped up and displayed for students to display their work,” Jens said. “They are really nice, innovative spaces.”
The renovated building has certainly impressed staff, students, and parents, and Wilson eagerly awaits their new building.
“The new Wilson will be awesome. Students are going to feel like they are walking into a brand new building,” said Naughton. “We can’t wait to get back to the new Wilson Middle School.”