■ Chronicle News / Service
The San Jacinto Unified School District introduced its new 21st Century Media Center at San Jacinto High School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for close to 65 guests on Oct. 3. From the time of its construction in 1999, the space had been used as both a school and public library through a Joint-Use of Facilities agreement between the County of Riverside and the school district.
In spring of last year, the County (of Riverside) and the district agreed to relocate the county library to another location to allow San Jacinto High School to better support the learning and literacy needs of all students in a 21st century environment, said Dawn Lawrence, the district’s communications and emergency preparedness coordinator.
“Since the original furnishings in our building, including books and shelves, belonged to the county, we had open space to create a modern learning environment,” explained Principal Luke Smith during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “And as you can see, it doesn’t look like the library many of us had when we were in school, which is why we call it a 21st Century Media Center.”
David Sheiner, SJUSD education technology coordinator, described the planning process in selecting furnishings for the main room as well as one of the most-used side rooms now known as Makerspace.
“We wanted a hub to help future-ready students to become college and career ready,” said Sheiner. “They need to be able to collaborate, plug in their Chromebooks and be innovative to construct knowledge.”
All students at San Jacinto High are provided a Chromebook (computer) to use both on and off campus, which contains most of their classroom textbooks. The new media center has an abundance of recharging stations, and a “Genius Bar” that is staffed by student technicians known as “Tiger Techs” to troubleshoot computer issues.
Equipment and materials were purchased for the media center’s Makerspace room from various grant sources, including a $5,000 donation from the San Jacinto Education Foundation. Vice President Neal Conijn ceremoniously presented a check to Principal Smith during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and shared the desire of the Ed Foundation to continue its financial contribution.
After the green ribbon was cut, guests were invited into the Makerspace room that includes a green screen wall for photo and video production work. Makerspace is a collaborative workspace for creating, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no-tech tools.
SJHS Makerspace is helping students develop 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). By providing hands-on learning, Makerspace helps with critical thinking skills and even boosts self-confidence.