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Staff room upgrade to encourage collaboration at Middle School

The staff room at Cape Elizabeth Middle School will undergo an upgrade thanks to a grant from the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation.

The School Board on Dec. 11, 2018 voted to accept the grant for $10,820 for upgrades to the staff room, located across the hall from the main office and next to the school conference room.

The staff room is centrally located, said Principal Troy Eastman, "but is, by far, a long ways from being the center of the school."

With no sink or running water, the staff room tends to be avoided and teachers eat lunch on their own. "Which is not really very much of a good community kind of atmosphere," Eastman said. "Right now (the staff room) is just a space that sits there. It's really not very professional, it's not very supportive of what we want to be."

Plans are to install a sink, cabinets, cozy round tables and a fresh coat of paint to encourage faculty use: Because where teachers are gathered, discussion and learning and collaboration are sure to follow.

"Inevitably teachers always talk about kids and what's going on, and best practices, and something going well or something not going well," Eastman said. "So the idea was to make that a place where people want to come and be a part of, and sit and eat share food, share stories, (and) talk."

The current conference room, located next to a bathroom, will take advantage of adjacent plumbing and become the new staff room. The current staff room will become the conference room, Eastman said. "So really just moving the two spaces and making them more functional," he said.

The end product will look much like the High School's recently renovated staff room, Eastman said. "I think it will be a big improvement."

Most of the work will be done in-house, except for the plumbing and purchase of cabinets, and should be completed during either the February or April school vacations.

The grant was awarded as part of CEEF's fall round. School Board members accepted the grant unanimously and thanked CEEF for its generosity. School Board policy requires the board to formally accept grants exceeding $10,000. [news article]