School district on Long Island revamps classroom layouts

BALDWIN, Long Island (WABC) -- You've most likely never seen classrooms like this before -- where kids are encouraged to lounge as they learn, sit at cafe-style seating and move not just themselves, but all over the place.

More than two dozen classrooms in the Baldwin School District from kindergarten through high school have been revamped to encourage collaborative and student-led learning.

"This really reflects the real work environment and how we would be able to work in our careers because I know that offices are really innovating and the schools should reflect how the environment is changing," said senior Mariyyah Sulaiman.

Superintendent Shari Camhi said district administrators got the idea when they visited offices of Google, Mashable and WeWork about two years ago.

"It was a very deliberate decision to say our schools need to look like what companies look like," Camhi said.

The teachers chose the designs for their classrooms.

Kindergarten teacher Tricia Wilder had a reading playground built. It features nooks, stairs and can be converted into a stage for performances based upon the books the children have read. The children have performed Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Seventh-grade teacher Ann Marie Lynam relinquished her own desk and in its place now has a tall desk where six students can sit.

"I can give one-to-one interaction, group interaction and it really makes a big difference in how I interact with them," she said.

Camhi said they plan to redo 50 more classrooms in the district.

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