Frank P. Long Intermediate School Opens Courtyard Learning Lab

Frank P. Long Intermediate School Opens Courtyard Learning Lab photo
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South Country administration, Board of Education trustees, faculty and students gathered with much excitement for the official ribbon-cutting of Frank P. Long Intermediate School’s new Courtyard Learning Lab on Oct. 3. Completed with the use of district capital reserve funds, the courtyard learning lab provides an outdoor instructional space flexible enough to allow for large group concerts, plays and presentations, as well as an extension of classroom learning.

“We have created another gem in our school district,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani said.  “We are all very excited of the learning to come.”

Dr. Giani explained that while creating the additional instructional space, the district also improved the overall health of the building. Overgrown vegetation was removed and rain gardens now purposely draw water and moisture away from the building. In addition, the turf flooring reduces maintenance and eliminates the need to bring gas-operated lawn mowers through the school to cut the courtyard’s grass. 

“Upon its completion, the students and faculty have been extremely joyful and enthusiastic while using the courtyard to extend their learning,” Principal Stefanie Rucinski said. She noted that prior to the ribbon-cutting, students took time to beautify a garden plot, worked with their Chromebooks to develop writing skills, worked on a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity using flexible seating, and walked the labyrinth. 

Board of Education President Cheryl A. Felice was also on hand to cut the official ribbon and to thank South Country residents for helping the district complete a “labor of love” through the use of capital reserve funds. She also described the courtyard learning lab as “truly something to behold.” 

Students Anayiah Legette and Ra’Asia Legette said they enjoy sitting in the courtyard learning lab’s grass to relax while studying. Megan Candelaria explained that, in addition to the trees in the courtyard, the space “allows for a good breeze and lets her body relax” while she is learning.