Mr. Critell finds use in what others have tossed aside. He has found treasures for his staff and students at the warehouse on Catalpa Street. Stationary bikes, a bonus for kids who need to burn off a little energy or extra steam, sit under stairwells and around corners. Not too many areas in the school go unused and, thanks to the warehouse finds, are filled with chairs, tables, mats, and anything else that give students an opportunity to spend time alone or with classmates in a non-traditional setting.
It was pretty obvious that Mr. Critell knows how to find the positives in whatever comes his way. The school’s unfortunate moisture problem didn’t bother Mr. Critell, and he didn’t let it be a negative for his staff. The unusable carpet was removed from classrooms and tile added. Mr. Critell and his teachers used this to their advantage and purchased kid-friendly area rugs that were thoughtfully placed and meaningfully used in several rooms. Even the what-do-we-do-with-92-boxes-of-math-manipulatives situation that happened while I was at the school was handled with grace and humor. This attitude creates a wonderful environment for everyone in the building.
Yesterday is exactly what I needed. I witnessed a variety of teaching styles and classrooms with children in small groups – some working with volunteers, some with assistants, some with teachers, and some independently on computers or iPads. I witnessed a warm, friendly building filled with children with a broad array of learning styles and abilities happy to be at school. There definitely were no “shortages” today in engaged students and passionate staff!