Monday, January 12, 2009

New rooms, technology, create new excitement at Wood

New rooms, technology, create new excitement at Wood
By Talia Sampson | Daily Republic | January 09, 2009

Flober Pena, with Visions Painting in Sacaramento, puts a new coat on a railing in front of Will C. Wood's new science building in Vacaville Monday. Photo by Brad Zweerink

FAIRFIELD - Before winter break, Becky Baclig and other science and math teachers at Will C. Wood High School were in the same boat as their peers, teaching in classrooms more than 20 years old and originally created for middle school students.

But Baclig, who has taught at the school since 1990, moved to a room in the new 35,000 square-foot, two-story math and science building shortly after Christmas and said she is grateful for the extra space and better lighting and technology than her old classroom.

'It was a nice Christmas present,' Baclig said, adding she already is seeing the benefits of the larger class room.

'I have a young man in a wheelchair who is able to do labs in a lab station,' Baclig said. 'The young man can now see because there is a handicap access table that is lower.'

The rooms come equipped with interactive SMART Boards, which Baclig already put to the test with a round of Jeopardy for her classes.

Because of the 2006 bond measure V, Wood High received $30 million toward modernizing facilities, including $750,000 toward improving furniture and equipment, principal Chris Strong said.

'It started two years ago with the improvements to the lower football field,' Strong said. After that, improvements were made to the parking lot and landscaping, a new outdoor amphitheater was added to the quad, in addition to the new math and science wing.

'This summer we will modernize the classrooms and the A-wing will be updated,' Strong said.

Strong has been at Wood for 18 years, and remembers the first day he stepped on campus.

'It was September of 1990 and I drove up to the school for my first day as a student teacher and thought, 'Oh my goodness, what am I getting myself into?' ' Strong said. 'The appearance of the school was so bad I almost turned around and drove away.'

But Strong said he has never regretted his decision to cross the archway onto campus, and said it has been neat to see the evolution of the school.

'The improvements over the last two years have been dramatic,' Strong said. 'When you look at the school, it has changed a lot and the kids are excited, the teachers are excited and the parents are excited. And one of the things that's exciting about the improvements is that we're trying to create the classrooms of tomorrow, the school of tomorrow.'

Baclig said the integration of more technology in the classroom has made it easier to get the attention of students.

'Bringing technology in made the kids much more attentive,' Baclig said. 'Kids expect it and want it, and if you don't have it, they think you're nuts.'

Strong said the school will host open house events from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 with tours of the new facilities for the public.

More information is available at 453-6900.

Reach Talia Sampson at 427-6935 or