St. Andrew Catholic School learning commons

Friday, Jan. 16, 2015
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

RIVERTON — It’s not just a library any more. Students at Saint Andrew School can still check out books, but they also can log onto computers at the school’s new learning commons, which has been upgraded thanks to a grant from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation.
“What was interesting about it is that my predecessor  (Louise Herman) and Kristina Cusik (the office manager of St. Andrew) did a great job finding the items that they needed at a much lower price, and so they were able to save quite a bit of money,” said Patrick Jefferies, Saint Andrew principal.
When Jefferies took over the reins at the school this year, he discovered that, with the upgrade, the library space was going to become a centerpiece within the school building.
“Because of that we needed to step up what we were doing there,” he said.
Around that same time a new parent mentioned that she had a master’s degree in library science and would love to work in the library again, he added, “so it was kind of very much the work of the Holy Spirit bringing her here when we had that need to bring the space to a new level.”
Carissa Scheinblum, the school’s media center director, is leading the charge with Jefferies to incorporate all the changes needed to transform the space from a library to a learning commons.
“We really are taking the opportunity to rethink what is this space that a lot of people call a library, and we are rethinking it in a way that really brings it in to the 21st century. We are very early on in the process. For an elementary school to move to a learning commons model is pretty amazing,” said Jefferies.
Among the changes that parents will see in the future is that the new learning commons will offer book clubs during and after school.
“This space is supposed to be a centerpiece of what we do here; it is an extension of our curriculum and our instruction and of our community environment. It’s not just a second thought. We have very big plans for the future,” said Jefferies. 
The E.L. Wiegand Foundation "makes grants primarily to develop and strengthen programs and projects: at educational institutions in the academic areas of science, business, fine arts, law, and medicine; and at health institutions in the areas of heart, eye, and cancer surgery, treatment and research, with priority given to programs and projects that benefit children. Emphasis on Roman Catholic institutions, including Catholic education," according to foundationcenter.org.

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