Our students are diverse. Most are Latino, but we also serve Filipinos, Chinese, and African Americans. Many students are English Language Learners and, hopefully, will be the first member of their family to attend college. Although the school's neighborhood, the Mission District, is increasingly trendy, many of our students struggle with safety issues such as assaults, prostitution and burglaries. Because of increasing rents, some students worry about housing security and must have jobs. Besides neighborhood pressures, our Wellness Center reports that many students have issues around substance abuse and sexual activity. These factors contribute to academic struggles; O'Connell's test data shows that we are one of the District's lowest achieving high schools. But that is not the whole story. Our library is regularly filled with students reading, doing homework, and being responsible students. Furthermore, O'Connell students demonstrate resilience and compassion every day.
I want to provide my students with the most attractive library possible. While our library is a well-designed space, it lacks some decorative elements that entice teenagers. We have book displays, posters, and student artwork, but we need something more. A festive touch of nature will draw more students to the library. The timing for this improvement will coincide with new flooring and paint.
The addition of two large artificial palm trees will add more color and dimension to the space.
Modern libraries for teenagers incorporate dynamic, alternative designs that move beyond traditional, academic libraries. Bringing in these artificial plants may engage students at a greater level.
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