The first day of a new school year in Noblesville included two new school buildings and a new education model. Superintendent Libbie Conner explained the plan to better educate students through project-based-learning at the elementary level and research-based learning at the middle school level.
A second middle school and a new elementary school opened on Wednesday. Noblesville Middle School West used to be the center for all district 5th and 6th graders while Noblesville Middle School East was the building for 7th and 8th graders. Now 6th through 8th graders will go to one of the two middle schools.
"This is huge for Noblesville to have a second middle school. For 15 years we've had 5th and 6th grade in one building and 7th and 8th in another and so we have a brand new middle school program," Conner said.
Middle school will be for grades six through eight. Fifth graders will now be part of elementary school. It's also the district's second year on full-day kindergarten.
Promise Road Elementary School is the first school in the district built east of State Road 37, where the area is seeing a lot of growth. The new school is also piloting the new project-based-learning model, or PBL.
"We're a 21st century school and we're gong to put PBL into full action while still meeting the needs of literacy and math and all of that. It's just been really exciting because we get to create the atmosphere and our atmosphere is energized, it's positive," said Kelly Treinen, Promise Road Elementary Principal.
The nearly 650 students at Promise Road will use flip top tables instead of desks and classrooms will be equipped with iPads and other technology to help students focus.
"We are piloting a sound system in all of the classrooms in which a teacher wears a microphone so no matter where he or she is in the classroom it's equal volume for every student," said Conner.
Other elementary schools throughout the district will also transition to the PBL model.
Along with building new schools, the district is adding more staff. Conner said they hired 90 new employees during the summer in preparation for the 2012-2013 school year.