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Yorktown Sentry

Discovering Discovery

Jessie Moyer, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Walking inside of the new Discovery Elementary School is like entering a new world. The brand new building radiates happiness and fun with its colorful furniture and light filled rooms. A slide sits in the center of the building for kids to travel from the top floor to the bottom, and kindergarten classrooms jut out from the main building with doors to the playground that sits near the roof. Needless to say, Discovery is an extremely unique school, and it is starting to feel like a community.

“We’re three weeks into school now and we’re all starting to just get better at working together,” Vice principal Judith Concha said.

Discovery is unlike any school in Arlington, with many futuristic features and modern atmosphere.

 “In terms of the building it is very unique because of the whole net zero philosophy, the theme of sustainability. It’s a 35 million dollar building.Not only is the building itself unique, but also the core values of the school. Discovery focuses on environmental sustainability and using the least amount of energy possible. One of my most favorite things are the sun tubes that we have in the ceiling,” Concha said.

The sun tubes that are located around the school filter sunlight through the roof directly into the building, making light bulbs unneeded in some places. These features teach kids the importance of being environmentally friendly.

Not only is the interior of the building unique, but so is its placement. The school is located behind Williamsburg Middle School, a new concept for many of the students going to these two schools. When asked about any downsides to sharing this space Concha said,

“We love it. It’s fun when the kids are out here on the playground and then the middle school kids have their PE time; they run right by them.”

There seem to be no challenges with this shared space as Concha said,

“Sometimes you feel like you’re a completely different campus…..but yet it feels very much like one campus it’s very integrated in terms of the sidewalk space and the outdoor space which is really nice.”

The two schools have not had any problems so far with their sharing of space and Concha doesn’t foresee any problems in the future.

Many kids from different elementary schools had to leave their previous schools to come to Discovery and although this could be challenging, Concha views it in a different light.

“You can view it as a challenge because building a community can be a challenge but it’s also a joy, so there’s definitely a lot of work that goes into bringing the students in and making sure everyone feels like they’re making new friends.”

The teachers also face a challenge with creating a new community inside the school.

“In terms of the community and the culture that we are creating here at school it’s very unique (because) 70% of the staff are non-Arlington employees………and we have a very diverse staff that all bring their different strengths and their different experiences to Discovery which is very exciting,” Concha said.

Discovery Elementary School is an exciting addition to the community and its many unique features and philosophies will influence many other projects in Arlington to come.

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Discovering Discovery