The structural renovation of the 6th and 7th grade learning spaces was officially completed on 7/11/14 (see below). There are two large learning spaces and two adjoining break-out spaces accommodating 50 inaugural 6th and 7th graders and five full time staff. There is also a central adult observation/work space.
We have installed a 55″ TV monitor in each of the large learning spaces and a 48″ TV monitor in the middle spaces to which teacher computers/iPads (as well as student computers/iPads) can project when making presentations. Each student has 1-1 access to iPad2s (50 iPads on 2 carts) and computers (20 wired Apple Mini desktops at the counters – two of the Minis will have larger monitors to accommodate multiple student presentations at the same time – and 30 MacPro laptops to be used at trapezoidal tables). Thus we have created a kind of two-tier, physical learning environment with students seated around the spaces at counters (standing/seated on stools) and at tables (seated on chairs).
From the central adult work/observation space there is line of sight into all of the learning spaces and speakers/headphones will allow adult observers in the central work space to hear what is going on in each learning space.
The PFFS-Downtown staff met throughout the 2014 summer creating together programming that includes a two-hour AM block they call ‘Learning in Community’ (which is continuous interdisciplinary, project-based learning), middle block rotations through Mathematics and Writers Workshop, and a two-hour PM block they call ‘Flow Lab’ (which provides students multiple guided options for following their passions individually and in small groups).
PFFS-Downtown is a demonstration site/lab learning environment for best PBL/STEM instructional practices and small school design. PFFS-Downtown will be the vanguard of the emerging CITY 6-12 STEM Education Complex and provide CITY Professional Development Center with lab classrooms for adult professional development. Guided lab classroom observations are scheduled to begin in January 2015.
PFFS-Downtown opened with 6th and 7th grade (8th grade will be added in August 2015). Currently the 6th/7th grades are full with waiting lists. Enroll online