Parents and teachers agree that there are many positive learning experiences that can flow from students having the ability to connect with people remotely no matter where they are in the world. At the same time, though, we at Hathaway Brown feel it's abundantly important for those same students to be able to connect in real life with the people right here on campus.
The four years of secondary education we provide in our Upper School are imperative for our girls. They're also way too short. In the blink of an eye, it seems, ninth graders become high school graduates who leave our halls bound for scores of colleges and universities in every corner of the globe. While it's true that they stay connected to the school and to each other by way of social media and other means, they will never be able to quite recapture the time they had to learn and grow together again.
HB's new Upper School Learning Commons, to be housed in the site of the Martha Frohring Geisel Library on the second floor of the school's Classic Building, will be a vibrant and innovative space designed to honor the spirit of collaborative learning that is a hallmark of the HB experience. Students will be welcome to gather to enjoy the fellowship of classmates as they expand their minds and perspectives through conversation and connectivity.
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If you've ever traipsed through the halls of the Classic Building while school is in session, you've seen Upper School students hunkered down cross-legged on the floor, chatting and working in small groups. In the new Learning Commons, up to 70 students at a time can find room to gather or sit comfortably alone to study, catch up on homework, or complete projects in a quiet space.
The Learning Commons will boost opportunities for:
- computer-supported collaborative learning,
- expanding critical thinking skills,
- improving overall performance,
- enhancing group work,
- fostering creativity, and
- individualized learning.
In the new Learning Commons, all of the stationary static tall bookshelves found in the former Upper School library will be replaced with lower-profile mobile units so that the space can easily be reconfigured to accommodate multiple uses. Additionally, the space will contain moveable chairs, tables, and desks that may be staged for group meetings, monitor sharing, and digital interfacing. All tables will contain wifi and ethernet connections.
We're also pleased to announce that the Learning Commons will be home to a small refreshment station that will be run as a student project by girls enrolled in the Center for Business & Finance.