By Beth David, Editor
With bright colors on walls and lockers, bright light coming through new windows, and inspirational messages posted all around, the five-year renovation of the Elizabeth Hastings Middle School in Fairhaven is almost complete.
Nearly every room, every hallway, every space, has had some sprucing up, said Principal Nicholas Bettencourt.
He said the renovations include energy efficient lighting, new floors, new drop ceilings…a top to bottom transformation.
The enhancements include lots of technology upgrades, too, from new Apple computers to a new intercom system, and interactive white boards, which means students can interact with the boards using their tablets at their desks.
The different wings for grades have different color schemes, too: blue and green for the main hallway and seventh grade, yellow and blue for grade six, purple for grade eight.
Sixth graders have brand new lockers, others have been painted.
“Everything’s bright and cheery,” said Dr. Bettencourt.
He pointed out that the Fairhaven Blue Devil has a prominent place in many spots throughout the school.
Another change, noted Dr. Bettencourt, is the addition of the college(s) that each teacher attended on the signs in front of their classrooms.
“When we have college and career day, all the trades come in,” he added. “We want students to know they have options after high school.”
The curriculum has changed, too, creating “pathways” to the high school for a more seamless transition with many courses. For instance, the digital imaging classes teach the same Adobe Suite programs that the high school uses, such as Photoshop and Lightroom.
It’s all about letting students know they have choices.
The school philosophy stresses a “growth mindset” that teaches that skills, intellect and talents can be developed, as opposed to a “fixed mindset,” that believes that those things cannot be changed.
It’s all about growth. It’s all about believing they can accomplish anything, “with hard work, dedication, perseverance,” said Dr. Bettencourt.
The key to it all, he said, is to create a safe and secure space where students can grow
As middle-schoolers looking towards high school, it is also time for students to learn how to connect to the world around them.
For example, the Life Sciences students use ingredients from the community garden to cook, and share with others.
It teaches students that they are part of a community.
“We want them to know that when they walk in the door, they’re going to be safe, they’re going to learn,” said Dr. Bettencourt. “They’re going to make mistakes, they’re going to grow here. We’re all here to help them.” •••
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