Enhancing the SDJA Student Experience, By Skip Carpowich, CFO/COO
If you take a walk around SDJA, you may notice a few changes around campus – all thanks to our student body. They asked and we listened. The process actually started this past summer at our Senior Leadership Team retreat where we reaffirmed our commitment to building confidence in the school and, toward that end, we set the objective of enhancing the student experience by listening to student needs, collaborating with them, and, ultimately, empowering them.
New, Enhanced Water Stations
To date, we have installed 5 new, enhanced water stations across the SDJA campus (Gym, C Building, D Building, & Library). These water stations are now available to students (in addition to existing water fountains) and feature:
- Safe, clean, delicious drinking water (5 stages of filtration)
- Cold water on demand
- Anti-microbial surfaces to keep the stations germ free
- An easy-to-use, clean, germ-free dispenser for filling water bottles (as opposed to filling bottles from the drinking fountain)
With an emphasis on environmentally-friendly options, the stations are specifically designed for students to refill their water bottles or cups (as opposed to a standard drinking water fountain).
New Outdoor Furnishings for the Upper School Quad
Students asked for more furniture – and comfortable furniture – for the MUS Quad. Two, 13-piece sets of comfortable, weather-resistant patio furniture have been set up in the quad. Students were quick to notice and the cushions are now effectively broken in!
Patio Furniture for the Middle School Quad
The teak patio furniture that was set up in the upper school quad has moved to the middle school quad – the area behind the Moadon. Now our middle schoolers have their own place to gather, meet, relax and study.
New Furnishings and a Redesign for the Library
Our student body requested comfortable, functional furnishings for the library – where students regularly gather for both group and individual study. Great care was used in choosing the furnishings – keeping in mind comfort, durability and ease-of-use for studying. The ergonomically-designed furnishings are on order and will be available soon. Once set up, they will be “mobile friendly” and easily configured and reconfigured by the students as needed for larger or smaller study groups and each piece allows students to charge their electronic devices. Internet stations were added throughout the room, which is now Wi-Fi enabled. Also, at the request of students, dedicated printers have been added.
All of this could not have occurred without the input from, and collaboration with, our Associated Student Body. Their insight and desire for functional and intentionally-designed gathering spaces and enhanced campus amenities was welcomed by our administration. And while many of these improvements are consistent with our Board of Trustees-approved strategic plan, the true reward comes from the interactions and cross-functional teamwork that ultimately lead to an enhanced student experience.
Through this spirit of collaboration and teamwork involving students, administrators, faculty, facilities team, technology department, and others, the old adage “none of us is as smart as all of us” really rings true.
This is an ongoing process and there’s more to come!