Kathy Williams and Mary Karshner-Smith, media specialists at Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School care deeply about their students. Since 2010, the number of students on free and reduced lunch increased from roughly a third of their students to over half. This only represents students who turned in their paperwork.
The school endured a few traumatic months when multiple students committed suicide or were killed in tragic accidents. Kathy and Mary considered their students’ emotional needs. They wanted to create an inviting, nurturing place where students feel like they belong.
While brainstorming about the UX project they mentioned that in that part of Clay county kids don’t have much to do after school. Drug use, pregnancy and poverty are all too common. Kathy and Mary wanted to give the kids something safe to do after school. They were passionate about it. As a result Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School’s library had their first movie night – they invited students to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. About forty kids turned out.
They have also started a makerspace. Right now it’s a creative area with adult coloring books and origami. They have an iMac kids can experiment with to learn music and video creation, and there is a cart of Legos in the works.
They painted the center over their spring break and are eager to put together a charging station or two before the summer. They have also recently agreed on a price to refurbish their existing circulation desk.
They mounted a TV on the wall which they will set up with a laptop and surround sound for teacher use in the classroom area of the center.
They sent faculty a survey to help prioritize their next steps. Additionally they plan to respond to students’ requests for a game night with big screens and gaming systems. They believe keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility and they are playing their part.