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Smith Springs Elementary To Be A Hub Of Technology

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Aug 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 17:17:02-04

ANTIOCH, Tenn. - It's a race against the clock to complete work at Smith Springs Elementary. Less than a week before the start of school it was still a construction zone. When we visited hard hats were mandatory

"They've lost a lot of lot of work days from snow and from rain," Principal Lance Forman explained. "We will be ready to go for kids on August 5th."

Walk inside a classroom and you may think all of the construction is worth the wait.

"If you're teaching kindergarten in this room you would wear that lanyard and your voice would come out of these four speakers in the room," Forman said.

Each classroom is a hub of technology, starting with an audio enhancement system. The teacher's lanyard is a microphone and wirelessly syncs to room's Wi-Fi. The teacher also controls a camera.

"The camera is not for surveillance. It's only turned on when teachers want it to be turned on to record instruction to reflect on their lesson."

Add to that a big screen high definition monitor that can act as a projector, or with a remote can transform to a table for students to stand around and interact with the material. But that's not the only difference in these classrooms.

"Every classroom in our school in kindergarten and first grade will have two adults in our school. One lead teacher and an aspiring teacher."

Students in college teacher prep programs at local colleges and universities are hired by Metro Schools to get hands on training in the classroom.

"They work in our rooms all day everyday throughout the year. They have class at night at Trevecca, Belmont, Lipscomb and Vanderbilt."

The training of the next generation is taken to another level as Trevecca University will hold a college class in the building.

Just two years ago getting the mere idea of this school off the ground presented its own set of challenges.

"And we're also going to be looking at a large increase of traffic congestion, because the road that its being built on is a dead end road," a concerned resident said in 2013.

They're concerns Principal Lance Forman hopes the design helps alleviate and he continues to solicit feedback.

"Building a strong school and making this a strong part of the Smith Springs Community is good for everyone," Forman stressed.

Because this is a neighborhood school after all, one Metro hopes can serve as a model for the future.

"If we work together all three of us, the school, families and neighbors," Forman said, "we can build a really unique place for our kids here."

Parents will be given tours of the school and are encouraged to meet teachers on August 4th for a preview night.

To keep traffic flowing on the first day, only drop offs will be allowed, no one will be able to park on the campus.

Those that want to walk their children in will have to park and take a shuttle from Camp Widjiwagan next door.