San Jacinto — Chromebooks for use both on and off campus, recharging stations and a “Genius Bar” manned by student technicians: These are some of the items in the brand new 21st Century Media Center at San Jacinto High School.
The center was formally commemorated Tuesday, Oct. 3, with a ribbon-cutting event that was attended by nearly 65 guests.
School officials recently created the high-tech center after reaching an agreement with Riverside County.
Since it was first constructed in 1999, the space served as both a library for the high school and for the county as part of a Joint-Use of Facilities Agreement, according to a news release from the San Jacinto Unified School District.
But in Spring of 2016, the county said it would relocate to another building to allow the school to better support 21st century learning and literacy needs, according to the release.
“Since the original furnishings in our building, including books and shelves, belonged to the County, we had open space to create a modern learning environment – and as you can see, it doesn’t look like the library many of us had when we were in school, which is why we call it a 21st Century Media Center,” Principal Luke Smith said during the event.
David Sheiner, SJUSD’s Education Technology Coordinator, talked about the planning process for the center as well as selecting furnishings for the main room and a side room known as the “Makerspace.”
“Makerspace is a collaborative workspace for creating, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no-tech tools,” the release said. “SJHS’ Makerspace is helping students develop 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”
The Makerspace came complete with a ‘green screen’ wall for photos and video production work.
“We wanted a hub to help future-ready students to become college and career ready,” said Sheiner. “They need to be able to collaborate, plug-in their Chromebooks and be innovative to construct knowledge.”
Every student at the high school is given a Chromebook — which contains most of their classroom textbooks — to use both on and off campus. The center has many recharging stations as well as a “Genius Bar,” which is manned by student technicians or “Tiger Techs” who troubleshoot computer issues.
Equipment and materials were purchased for the Makerspace room from various grant sources, including a donation of $5,000 by the San Jacinto Education Foundation.
Vice President Neal Conijn ceremoniously presented a check to Principal Smith during the ribbon-cutting and noted he wanted the foundation to continue to financially contribute.
After the “green” ribbon was cut, guests were invited in to see the Makerspace and “green screen” wall.