Impact of classroom environment on students


Computer Lab after renovation at Kirkwood high school- Photo credit: Jim Streisel

Erin Slutzky, Reporter


The Broadcast room after renovation at Kirkwood high school. Everything was built for the journalism program – Photon credit: Jim Streisel

Cece Hensley, newspaper editor in chief at Kirkwood High School, talked about the renovation of their journalism building that took place the summer of 2014, a space that includes 40 state-of-the-art computers, a big conference room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a couch and even a coffee maker.

“On the first day of school we made pancakes; that’s also because our advisory is awesome, but it’s just cool to have that space,” she said. “There’s no other classroom (in the school) where you can do that.”

Hensley said her journalism workplace is inspiring, and the new renovations make her and her classmates work hard to put together a great product. And according to Kirkwood adviser Mitch Eden, the renovation let him include 25 to 30 more kids per staff and this, he said, improved the quality of the paper because there were more contributors in every department.  

Eden talked about the issue his students faced before the renovation.

“The only problem was that we didn’t have enough room (in the old space),” he said. “We had more kids interested in joining our media program than we could fit in our space. I hate not including kids who are interested and curious about something.”

On the other hand, Erin Kaihara from Niles West High School talked about the lack of equipment her staff has and the small budget they have due to much of the school’s money being given to the sports department. But despite the problems facing her staff, Kaihara she said she still has a soft spot in her heart for the space.

“The entire room is kinda sentimental because I’ve, honestly, found a passion in that room,” she said, “so I kind of have an emotional connection to the room just because in that room I realized, ‘Oh, maybe this is something I’m interested in.’”

Eden said he’s happy to be in his new space.

“It’s been two years since that’s been built and my feet still haven’t hit the ground,” he said. “It’s the most amazing high school journalism facility I have seen. And I just feel extremely lucky that my administration decided to invest in my program and my kids and myself. We are very lucky, blessed, fortunate, all of that. But I’m just giddy every time I go to work. It’s not like I’m going to work, it’s like I’m going to this magazine headquarters, something bright and new, up to date.”