District Cools Schools
Students get distracted easily in Ms. Porter's kindergarten class at Parkade Elementary. Early dismissals only help so much in Porter's self-proclaimed "hottest room in the school."
"It's hard for them to pay attention when they are so concerned about their comfort level in the classroom," said teacher Angelia Porter.
Columbia Public Schools hopes this is the last fall where heat is a problem, at least in some schools. CPS are working with Custom Energy to select a design proposal that will put air conditioning in five elementary schools: Fairview, Russell, Parkade, Benton, and Blue Ridge. Funding for the project will come from last spring's $60 million bond issue. The district hopes that air conditioning in classrooms will lead to more efficient learning.
"By air conditioning these buildings, of course, we will improve those learning environments greatly, and those teachers and children will be able to work more efficiently," Assistant Superintendent Jack Jensen said. Porter also hopes that a cool classroom will allow students and teachers to focus on what is really important.
"We won't focus on our comfort level in the classroom, we'll be able to focus on what it is that we're teaching and what they're supposed to be learning," Porter said. Maybe next year, Porter won't have to ask this question again, because the district hopes to have all 5 elementary schools air-conditioned by the start of classes next fall.