By Julie Roberts
Seniors at both Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers High School will have a new home base to call their own. On Nov. 5, both high schools hosted groundbreaking ceremonies to build future Senior Academies intended to offer a more flexible and adaptable educational environment.
“We’re addressing a capacity issue,” said Hamilton Southeastern Principal Matt Kegley. The primary goal while designing the academy was to “redefine what that institutional space looks like,” so that it addresses the transition beyond high school, whether it’s college or work.
One of the enhancements offered by the academy is a “Learning Hub.” The architectural team designing the space, working alongside teacher representatives, wanted to build a more flexible space to address changing student needs. They designed movable walls and collaboration areas more conducive to team projects and group problem-solving.
“We’re also creating more casual areas to do some independent work. We’ve built those in the commons area,” Kegley said. He suggests students could stay after school and work in these areas.
In addition, the Senior Academies will offer more opportunities for students to take AP and Dual Credit courses. Kegley said they will be collaborating with local colleges and universities to expand course offerings so that college level classes can be offered in this space. He envisions extended hours beyond the traditional 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. model, offering classes into the evening as well. The academy lays the groundwork for that.
Each Senior Academy will have 41 classrooms, spanning two floors, and will create additional space for 1,000 students. This will bring the student capacity to 3,700 for both schools. The academies will be open for use when school begins in the fall of 2015.
Kegley clearly wants to prepare students for the world of work. In that world, “you’ve got to be able to work with colleagues to come to some end product. The academy space we will create will promote that further.”
For future updates about the high school academies, go to www.hse.k12.in.us or call 594-4190.