On Monday, September 12 students got their first official look at their new learning and gathering space. The Upper School library at Jackson Academy was renovated this summer into a multi functional Learning Commons, a central hub for student learning, collaboration, and innovation. The space is inviting, colorful, open, and light-filled, but it is a workhorse when it comes to flexible learning space.
The Learning Commons allows for student collaboration and study, access to technology and other learning resources, and space for free time and student entrepreneurial efforts. It provides options for how students work individually or in groups, with or without technology. Specific areas include spaces for active learning, collaboration, small groups, medium groups, a learning theater, a media/broadcast room, traditional stacks, gathering spaces, and flexible classrooms with moveable walls.
The new space has many interesting features. The media/broadcast room has a chromakey, or green screen, on one wall for use during video production. All of the furniture throughout the space is flexible and modular including rolling “desks” in the classroom spaces with movable work surfaces that reposition quickly for collaborative assignments. The Learning Commons will feature a student-run coffee shop. The coffee shop will give students real-life experience operating a business. Students are currently working on a business plan for the coffee shop.
The Learning Commons project is funded by major commitments from individual families and gifts to the JA Annual Fund for a total of $680,000 in cash and pledges. The Jackson Academy Association, JA’s parent organization, has pledged $300,000 of support for the project. Donors were given a tour of the facility Friday before the football game.