Newly openend Villanova middle school resembles Google headquarters

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) – A big day for students in the Lower Merion School District. Not only are they kicking off a new school year, but some students will also start inside of the brand new Black Rock Middle School in Villanova.

Rain or shine, it’s the first day of school but one school is unique in more than one way. Middle school at Black Rock Middle School in Villanova starts at fifth grade, which is not typical. 

Students in other schools throughout the district will now go here to balance out enrollment.  

The new Black Rock Middle School is the 11th school to open in the Lower Merion School District. 

Last week, students from grades five through eight were given a tour.

“There are learning communities, a group of four homeroom teachers and about 80 to 90 students share a space,” principal Sarah Stout said. “That space has a common living room or a commons in the middle and off that area are four distinct classrooms that serve a different function.

Principal Stout says the school’s layout and design is similar to Google headquarters with an emphasis on collaboration. Here, there aren’t as many cubbies or traditional classrooms.  

“The design of this school really links together educational pedagogy with the idea of structural space,” Stout said. “Students learn best when they are highly engaged, and students are engaged when learning is meaningful, authentic, real-world related and they are applying their knowledge.”

Tuesday, the fifth- and sixth-graders will report to class, and Wednesday, seventh- and eighth-graders will arrive.

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