When Ron Hirst arrived at Swainsboro Primary as its principal earlier this school year, he had a few projects in mind. One of those was to create a poster campaign featuring the faces of the very students who walk the hallways as tiny Tigers, encouraging them to read. If you journey down the wings of Swainsboro Primary today, you’ll see that goal has already been accomplished. Another goal Hirst had was to repurpose a computer lab into a meeting place for staff.
Both of those undertakings have been checked off as they were quick to do. However, a third goal—one that will require a bit more time and resources—remains: reinventing an unused space that is tucked away just beyond the front office. The hope, Hirst explains, is to create a “reading jungle.” The renovation will begin this summer and hopefully be completed by the time the teachers and students return for the 2022-2023 term.
“We have purchased all the independent reading chairs, the book vending machines, and books. Now, a group of teachers on our ‘Team Innovate’ are designing the layout,” Hirst said proudly. “We’re going with a jungle cruise-type thing. We will have props and murals to decorate the area. Overall, we want it to be a fun, creative, relaxed reading area that gets students excited about opening a book.”
The plan is to tie in the school’s reading reward program so that as students reach their goals, they get to come to the reading jungle, get their own book from the vending machine, and get lost in the coziness, turning page after page.
“We hope to unveil it by the end of the year as this year’s parent-teacher organization purchased the vending machine, which we are having made custom.”
Look for updates about this project in future editions of The Chronicle.
Hirst closed the interview by teasing two other projects coming down the pipe at this particular Tiger Trail institution: an outdoor classroom as well as an outdoor cafe, both being funded through CARES III money.