Laptops and swirly chairs and a projector screen, oh my! That was the reaction of many MHS students when they heard whisperings of the opening College Resource Center in the library. At the close of last year, only those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time caught a glimpse of the library’s new crown jewel. As it turns out, the room (probably the nicest in the whole school) will be open everyday beginning this week during all periods and sometimes before and after school. Manned by new guidance interns, this room is designed to offer improved access to the numerous resources available for college admissions and expand opportunities to connect with the Guidance Department.
This project was initiated by Principal Mr. James Earle, (who is surprisingly tuned into student life and mindset) because he saw the overwhelming number of conflicts that inhibit the college process and wanted to help. The idea, according to Earle, was to “create a space for students looking to get an edge in the college search.” The planning and implementation of this room also involved the Guidance Department, the MFEE, Montclair Schools Rock!, and parent interior designer Liz Murphy during the summer of 2012. While the center’s full offerings are not yet available, college-bound students can now begin to utilize the new services already in place.
The large projector screen and all of the iMac desktops and MacBook laptops are outfitted with Skype, allowing students to video chat with admissions offices and interview without making an inconvenient trip. While the Resource Room helps to “bring college campuses to us”, added Mr Earle, it also benefits admissions offices who are looking to cut costs. Team 2 guidance counselor Siobhan Meyer said there will be “workshops with weekly themes such as NCAA, for those focused on sports, Naviance, financial planning, effective communication, study skills & time management, motivation & self confidence, and coping with life changes.” The open space itself will be beneficial as well. The near daily visits from admissions’ representatives will now be held in this room instead of the small, cramped fiction room, allowing more students to sit in on presentations. When the room is not in use for planned events, students are welcome to go in during their lunch or free period to do college-related research on the computers, or sit in a comfy chair and read from the ample selection of college books. The administration is still figuring out how to use the space, so until then don’t expect to see a great push in advertising. For those looking to set up interviews with colleges over Skype, Mr. White is currently in charge of the room and will accept requests.
While this room is just the first step in Mr. Earle’s master plan for improvements at MHS, which includes an after school homework center and more improvements to the library, he is pleased to have converted an underutilized office into a space that “will be a great resource for students now and in the future.” Considering Bloomfield’s ongoing efforts to recruit Mr. Earle as their new Superintendent, let’s hope he sticks around to finish implementing his vision for greatness at MHS.