Tampa Preparatory School Renovates Upper School to Become One of the First Schools in the Country to have ALEs in Every Classroom Grades 6-12
Posted 09/16/2016 11:07AM
Tampa Preparatory School is excited to announce the 47,000 sq. ft. renovation of its Upper School and Smith Arts Wing into Active Learning Environments. These renovated spaces now offer a modern approach to teaching and learning designed to cultivate 21st century skills. Tampa Prep is proud to be one of the first schools in the country to feature Active Learning Environments in all classrooms from 6th - 12th grade. Each classroom at Tampa Prep is optimized for learning and teachers use methods to engage students in a variety of ways. Blending space, technology and pedagogy in the Active Learning Environments, Tampa Prep has created a one-of-a-kind educational experience for all of our students. Rather than the traditional setup of teacher at the front of room lecturing, today's classrooms are flexible to create a dynamic space.

Director of the Upper School Mr. Carl Carlson said, "the renovation has created spaces that are a model for 21st century learning. Our teachers are using the space and technology in ways that allow our students to have a dynamic learning experience that will prepare them to succeed in college and beyond."

During this summer-long renovation of the entire Upper School, which includes the Fredlake Humanities Wing, the Smith Arts Wing was renovated to enhance student opportunities to perfect their visual, musical, technical and performance skills! In the Fields Video Production Suite, students use industry standard facilities to create professional videos. This Suite features a separate Green Sound Stage and White Sound Stage complete with infinity walls and professional lighting grids. In the Video Production classroom, students have access to pro-level tools in the production and post-production facilities including Adobe Creative Studio and Final Cut Pro workflows, eight HD cameras with 4k capabilities and a DaVinci machine for color correction and finishing.

Band and Chorus students now have access to new soundproof rehearsal studios where small groups of musicians can gather to practice and record songs. The design of the Visual Art rooms resembles an industrial loft to encourage artistic inspiration. The Art rooms gained additional space by taking advantage of a new covered outside area where they can create multimedia masterpieces.

Although this upgrade included many of the same features that were implemented in our Middle School renovation two years ago, research and thoughtful consideration ensured that this space was formatted specifically for high school students. One of the primary additions to the Upper School are custom study nooks. The School recognized the need to give Upper School students more freedom so special spaces were created for small groups of students to collaborate on projects together.

Student Body President Carson Black is excited about the custom spaces. "The new study areas set aside in the hallways allow for a more quiet area to do my homework during study hall and after school," he said. These study nooks feature glass walls to provide strategic sight lines for teachers to monitor students from within classrooms. Tampa Prep recognizes the importance of fostering independence as the older students prepare to head to college.

Each Upper School classroom gained 100 square feet and is equipped with two "wall talkers" along the entire length of the walls and an Apple TV to ensure seamless projection of student work using iPads. Furniture on wheels gives students the ability to adjust their sight lines for a clear view of the screens. Teachers were given the option of independent chairs with an attached desk or tables with separate chairs, depending on their subject and preference. In an Active Learning Environment, every student has a front-row seat! Utilizing the Redcat system, sound is amplified with incredible audio clarity throughout the room, allowing every student to hear clearly, regardless of which direction the teacher or student is facing.

Student Body Vice President Rain Siswanto said, "I love that I can sit anywhere in class and see the presentation with our two new projection boards - now I don't have to worry about rushing to class to get a good seat!"

Another major change in the Upper School hallway is the addition of clusters of lockers instead of hallways lined with banks of lockers. After the move to an iPad one-to-one philosophy, not as many students are utilizing lockers. Tampa Prep now provides clusters of lockers for ninth grade students near their Academic Advisors to create a "homeroom feel" and offers lockers to upperclassmen who request them.

It is going to be an exciting year of learning at Tampa Prep as Upper School faculty and students explore all of the amazing capabilities of the newest Active Learning Environments.