If you drive by Crow Leadership Academy, you might not immediately notice how much it has changed since last year. But if you turn in and loop around the school on the new driveway, you’ll see. First, you’ll see a kitchen addition, then a new parking lot, then a new classroom wing and finally a new gymnasium.
The new additions and drives all opened for the start of the school year after a busy year of construction. Funded by the 2019 Bond, the additions and site improvements were designed to allow Crow to accommodate a growing student population, part of an east Arlington master plan that has rezoned all elementary schools in the area.
The additions don’t just allow for more students though. They also improve the overall educational experience for all Crow students.
“The cafeteria and gym at Crow bring so much life and excitement to our campus,” said Jamie MacDougall, Crow’s principal until this month when she started a new role in the district as director of curriculum and instruction. “Going from one line in the cafeteria to two allows us to serve more students. In addition, we have a bright new space in our renovated cafeteria to have school programs and parent nights.”
Even without an increase in students, the kitchen addition was needed. Crow’s former kitchen was tiny, cramped and only had one serving line. The addition provides more food preparation space, a second serving line and an office for the food and nutrition manager.
The old kitchen wasn’t the only tiny space at Crow that needed updating. The old gym was too small, and the roof was so low that it limited the types of activities and sports. But that has all changed with the new, much larger gymnasium that also doubles as a weather shelter.
“The new gym has provided our students more opportunities because of the additional space and equipment,” said Crow P.E. teacher Susie Chung. “We are able to do more activities than before and can accommodate the needs of our students better. For example, if we are learning a specific skill or sport, the gym is big enough that we can split the gym into different sections so students can work at their appropriate skill level and/or in smaller groups for more personalized instruction. The students are very excited!”
Connecting the gym to the rest of the building is a new classroom wing with nine classrooms. The new wing includes Crow’s pre-K classrooms, which all have their own bathroom and furnishings sized for the school’s littlest learners. The hall’s spacious, modern classrooms also have large windows that allow for natural light.
The rest of Crow also received some updates, adding to what was done during the 2014 Bond. Renovations in the existing building included new classroom doors, ceiling fixtures, toilet fixtures and more.