WILLISTON — Williston Public School District 1 is turning a pool into a school to help innovate the future of how students learn.
After a few years of overpopulation in the District 1 Williston Public Schools, board members have come up with a solution that would not only help their problem but innovate the future
“Education is really the only thing that really has not moved in that direction. We’re still stuck in this 1890s. Everyone is going to sit in desk in a row. Our curriculum for the high school hasn’t changed in 150 years and we’re not really preparing kids to get out into the workforce and figure out how to work with another person,” said Joanna Baltes, president of Williston Public School District 1 school board.
The Innovation Academy is a two-story, $12 million, 20-thousand square foot project giving 400 fifth through eighth-grade students in the Williston District 1 area a new environment to learn hands-on and get away from the traditional school day.
“This is for personalized learning, much larger common areas instead of smaller classrooms with smaller break out spaces. So the kids can learn in the way that they learn best. Whether that’s working with their hands, working on a project, working on a chrome book for part of their curriculum or meeting with a teacher one-on-one,” said Baltes.
This not only benefits the students but teachers, too.
“The idea is we’re going to pilot new things in this building and then it’s going to flow over into all our other buildings. So, for right now it’s small group, but those teachers are then going to be able to teach other teachers instead of having to fly to a different site visit. Our teachers are going to be able to come into our innovation academy for their professional development and learn from their colleagues on what works and what doesn’t,” said Codi Austreim, executive director at the Williston Coyote Foundation.
The whole community is hands on with this project, and this is a statement that Williston citizens do support schools.
“People are so excited, whether they were donating $10; $100; $100,000; $250,000; or half a million. A lot of people wanted to make it known that, yes, Williston does support schools and we are going to support the school district in making sure that we can create the desperately needed space that we need,” said Baltes.
Construction has begun at the old Hagan Pool Building and is set to be completed in August of 2020.