AP NEWS

Schools bringing young learners up to speed

April 8, 2019

HARLINGEN — Learning is forever.

The best way to start that learning is at the beginning, and there’s no better way than a fresh beginning.

That’s why the Harlingen school district is purchasing new innovative furniture for all kindergarten to second grade classrooms throughout the district.

The new furniture will be a noticeable departure from the more traditional heavy desks with their square shapes in neat rows. The new furnishings can be pulled together for more group activities and pulled apart for more individual instruction.

“ We are going to modernize all of our classrooms from kinder through second grade,” said Veronica Kortan, administrator for organizational development for the Harlingen school district.

“ In that modernization we will infuse furniture that is going to allow us to have a collaborative learning environment in every classroom,” Kortan said. “We will also infuse more technology into those grades.”

The district has already placed its order for about $900,000 worth of furniture paid for with Tax Ratification Election funds. Kortan said installation will begin after this school year ends and should be ready by fall.

“ We’ll have a lot of flexible seating, so when you think of students that have very particular needs, the flexible seating allows them to sit in a chair that is comfortable for them,” she said.

The new furniture and technology is a continuation of a move that started three years ago when all classrooms in grades third through fifth were outfitted with new equipment. The change has been a success.

“ It has created a space that is very easy to provide collaborative learning,” Kortan said. “Those old desks that we had, they were heavy, hard to put together. From what the teachers have told us, these new desks are easy to arrange in the way that you need them.”

Of particular interest for the lower grades is the use of the new furniture and technology in the district’s early literacy program.

“ We’ve had a lot of success with our early literacy,” she said. “When you consider that our kids are coming in very familiar with technology, that’s one of the things that we really wanted to study. We are wanting to expose our students to that technology earlier so that we can really provide a different type of learning environment.”

twhitehead@valleystar.com