- Quatama Elementary School
Bond Update: Eastwood's New Walls are a Hit
January 7, 2019 - “This is HUGE!” Cindy Honma exclaimed. “What a difference these make!”
The grade 4/5 teacher was bubbling with excitement about the new walls to enclose classrooms at Eastwood Elementary School. Through funding from the 2017 Bond, the open, multi-grade classrooms once popular in the ‘70s have made way for today’s educational needs.
“I have actual walls and a door now,” Honma said with a bright smile. “Students will no longer be distracted by noise levels and others passing by. Behavior can be better managed within the room. Best of all, I know my kids can concentrate better and have a more focused, positive environment for learning.”
Griseldo Nuñez, first-grade teacher, was equally enthusiastic, especially about being able to have a door that can be closed for both quiet and safety. Like Honma and others, he returned early from winter break to prepare his classroom for students’ return on Monday. Nuñez covered the walls with colorful paper, with help from his son, to better exhibit students’ work.
“I hope this makes the classroom brighter and welcoming,” he stated with pride.
Michele Mudd has been a teacher at Eastwood since 1988. As she explained, the open classroom, with three classrooms to a “pod,” was conceived to promote interaction and community between multi-aged students, focused on thematic units. It wasn’t until she started that the current teaching by grade levels was employed. Then, in 1991, walls were constructed to separate the pods, but each classroom within the pod was still open until the bond work took place in 2018.
Principal Lindsay Garcia added that having walls and doors “also creates an environment where students feel more ownership of their classroom…[and where] students learn to regulate in order to be ready to learn.” The walls and doors create a space that is calm and quiet, with minimal distractions—an important part of self-regulation.
The District’s own facilities crews performed the installation as construction happened in phases. Temporary plywood barriers were initially put up before Thanksgiving, then recently covered with floor-to-ceiling drywall and tackboard. Doors provided the final touches to the “new” classrooms.
“The crews were great,” Honma said, “and worked so hard to get this done. I would always see them here very early in the morning to start the job before school, then return at the end of school to continue working. I am just so happy with the results!”