When kids across Charlotte hit the halls for the first day of school Monday, Aug. 26, students at McClintock Middle School were hitting brand new classrooms with brand new technology all wrapped up in a brand new school building.
Low-lit, dingy classrooms and a leaky roof was the scene for students at McClintock Middle for far too long, Principal Paul Williams said. But while conditions were tough, Williams said students, staff and teachers learned to use their limited and old resources to the best of their abilities.
But their waiting has now paid off.
“It’s just like Christmas!” one of the school’s eighth-grade teachers said.
The school’s new 54-classroom facility was built to get students out of a more than 50-year-old facility. The new school includes traditional classrooms, as well as large open rooms that house three and five classes as part of the school’s new Teach to One program – an innovative and individualized format to teach math and new technology. Every classroom is outfitted with new projection systems with Win TV, a closed circuit TV system, and Apple TV.
All teachers now have their own iPads along with a classroom set of 10 iPads for each. The school also received 90 Google Chrome Books for the science and social studies department, along with enough HP Pro Books for each student to use while in math class.
Williams said anticipation for the new school last year was high, and teachers had their first chance to tour the school on the last teacher workday before summer began – giving teachers a chance to plan and prepare for the big move-in several weeks ago.
Not only has the new building helped bring excitement to the McClintock staff, but students, as well. Students have already started testing for the Teach to One program to gauge each student’s level. From there, students will do work based on their own needs.
“It’s been great. They are very resilient,” Williams said. “They’ve been hearing about it since last spring, but now, they are just running to math. We’ve had them on the laptops doing diagnostic testing and everybody is just giddy to get to class.”
Williams said, in addition to new ways of learning and technology, a clean building also has been a breath of fresh air for students and staff.
Diane Crumley, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at the school, said she never realized the bad conditions in the old building.
“Once moving here and going back over there, it’s a touch frightening that we were teaching in that school,” Crumley said.
Williams said the new facility definitely has started a new chapter at McClintock. Students and staff are more excited to come to school and work – they feel appreciated, Williams said. While there was some nostalgia around the closing of the old building, which is currently in the demolition stages to make way for more athletic fields, community members appreciate the school’s new opportunities. So much so, that Williams said more students from Lansdowne and Rama Road elementary schools are attending McClintock this year. He hopes the community will continue to take more pride in their neighborhood school.
“For our students, it’s like a clean pair of shoes. They are just in awe of all the things they have access to now,” he said.
Changes also are coming to McClintock next year, when the school will become a partial science, technology, engineering and math magnet offering for its own students. It will be one of the only middle school magnets in the south Charlotte area.
“We’re really just trying to create a pipeline from Rama Road’s discovery education program, to McAlpine STEM magnet, to the engineering program at East Meck,” Williams said.