Parkdale’s unremodeled classes get in the way of students learning


Sandy Zelaya Pena

Some classrooms in the old building, like the science room pictured above, would greatly benefit from remodeling for students to have access to all the amenities they offer.

Parkdale was built on February 1, 1968. Most of the building has been remodeled and even an Annex has been built at the school to accommodate the ever growing population of incoming students. However, there are four classes that have not been remodeled since the 1960s. It wouldn’t be much of a problem if the class weren’t affected by the age of their classroom but the deteriorating classrooms make it incredibly difficult for the students to be able to learn or for the teachers to teach them. 

The classroom is very old and dusty, and students often complain of the extreme temperatures every time they have the class. Junior Valerie Pocasangre explains the conditions of the class during the time she has been learning there this year. 

“I sit all the way on the outer part of the tables and there’s literally no space,” she said. “Everyone is squeezed together and there isn’t much space.” 

Pocasangre attends this class but sometimes dreads going into the class, not because she doesn’t like the class but because she feels uncomfortable in the class because of the classroom itself.

“It seems like the class is falling apart to be honest,” Pocasangre explained. “Everything is pretty old.” 

Having students learning in good safe environments should always be the schools and in general, the county’s number one priority. Of course, now the situation is different and we must take certain measures in order to ensure that we are all safe before worrying about learning. 

However, shouldn’t there be a priority in the overall environment of our classrooms? How will we be able to socially distance ourselves, stay safe and still learn if our class doesn’t even have windows or good heating?

The heating and air conditioning or spacing of the classrooms aren’t the only issues that students and teachers face daily in the classroom. The water is also an issue. The lab in Mrs. Ostchega’s class is always undergoing some sort of issue. 

Some constant dripping in the sink make using them during labs a bit challenging. (Sandy Zelaya Pena)

Mrs. Ostchega is an Environmental and Earth & Space Science teacher at Parkdale who has been at Parkdale for 18 years. She likes to conduct a lot of labs for her classes to have her students learn and understand the material better. However, most times, she cannot conduct a lab without first warning her students to refrain from turning on the faucets and that only some of the sinks should be used. She warns them that if the others are turned on, the water will run uncontrollably and other sinks will clog, stinking up the class. 

She cannot turn on the heater or air conditioner either, because the apparatus is so old that if she turns it on, it will stink up the entire class and give off a dreadful smell. Nevertheless, Ms. Ostchega still finds ways to teach her class and have her students learn the curriculum. 

She invested in camping chairs out of her own pocket to have her students go outside when the weather is nice and that way they can avoid for at least one day having to sit in an uncomfortable classroom. 

She recalls that her class, overall, is a nice class just with a few changeable issues.

“The reason we have so many tables is because we have a lot of students,” Mrs. Ostchega said. “I’m actually lucky because the arrangement of the class makes it easy to have labs. The structure of the class [itself] was a good idea.” 

Mrs. Ostchega manages to avoid the obstacles of her classroom and still teach her students but said that renewing the classes a bit would make learning “easier” for an otherwise “pretty conducive” learning environment.