WUFT News

Transformation Taking Place At Sidney Lanier Center

By on February 20th, 2014
Courtney Miller, 22-year-old psychology senior and Project Makeover executive director, gives directions on mural installments to Karlee Henson, a 19-year-old elementary education student and Heather Haney, a 22-year-old sustainability and the built environment senior  on Feb. 18 at Sidney Lanier Center. The three were preparing preliminary sketches that will be part of renovation installments set to take place from Feb. 21 until Feb. 23.

Ana Krsmanovic / WUFT News

Courtney Miller, a 22-year-old psychology student at the University of Florida and Project Makeover executive director, gives directions on mural installments to Karlee Henson, a 19-year-old elementary education student, and Heather Haney, a 22-year-old sustainability student, on Feb. 18 at the Sidney Lanier Center. The three were preparing preliminary sketches that will be part of renovation installments this weekend.

A center for elementary and secondary students with disabilities will be transformed this weekend by 1,500 volunteers and 10 local sponsors.

The improvements to the Sidney Lanier Center, located at 312 NW 16th Ave., will be made by Project Makeover, a University of Florida based student-run nonprofit organization.

Courtney Miller, a 22-year-old UF psychology senior and Project Makeover executive director, said the project will run Feb. 21 to Feb. 23. from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. The improvements include cleaning, organizing, landscaping and painting murals.

“We are currently the only center in our district that specifically serves students with cognitive disabilities,” said Denise Schultz, the principal of Sidney Lanier. “Cognitive disabilities stem from varying medical conditions that basically make them unable to perform as well as their peers.”

Schultz said students at Sidney Lanier range in age from 3 to 22.

“Traditional and artistic learning is available through more targeted hands-on therapies, while the transitional learning is designed to help older students move into ‘the working world,’” Schultz said.

For the center, Project Makeover created a special “dream project” that will feature a media station for pre-K students that facilitates hands-on learning. The station includes interactive puzzles and models to teach young students the proper way to brush their teeth and wash their hands.

Since its first transformation project with Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Elementary School in 2008, Project Makeover has worked to renovate schools in Gainesville and around north central Florida. Each spring its members have focused on a different school. Williams, Lake Forest, Duval, Chester Shell and Idylwild Elementary Schools have benefited from the organization’s efforts, according to its website.

Bridget Conroy, a 20-year-old UF family youth and sciences junior, said she learned about Project Makeover through Idylwild Elementary, where her mom is a teacher. After seeing the Idylwild students’ reactions to the organization’s contributions, Conroy said she decided to get involved. She is now an art captain for the organization.

“You see the school go from completely plain to filled with a lot of colors,” Conroy said. “Everyone knows we are making a huge difference.”

Project Makeover also plans to plant two new gardens and update the landscaping at Sidney Lanier. One of the gardens will be a “sensory garden,” which would feature plants of various colors, scents and textures that can be easily identified by the students.

Schultz said that she is very grateful for the help the center will receive because the additions will aid in stimulating students of all grade levels. She said she isn’t surprised by the amount of help the community is contributing to the project.

“Having been in Gainesville as long as I have, this hasn’t changed my opinion of the community so much as it has validated it,” she said. “We have an awesome community that is willing to come out on the weekend and help bring better education to our kids.”


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Education

The Office for Student Financial Affairs offers many financial aid
options to provide students with resources and information to understand the rights 
incurred when they receive financial aid. The University of Florida office is located in Criser Hall on Union Road.

New Legislation Lowers Cost of Florida Prepaid College Plans

Beginning Sept. 20, families that purchase a Florida Prepaid College Plan may receive refund benefits, price reductions and waived enrollment fees. Payment reductions will be applied to Prepaid Plans and refund checks will be processed and mailed within four to six weeks after.


Miranda Larkin, 16, stands in a Oakleaf High School bathroom after changing into the dress code violation outfit given to her by the school nurse. This is the photo she sent to her mother, Dianna. The yellow T-shirt and red pants have "Dress Code Violation" written on them.

Clay County Mother Files Complaint Over Dress Code Violation Punishment

A Clay County mother has filed a complaint with FERPA after her daughter was told to wear a pair of red pants and a bright yellow T-shirt with the words “Dress Code Violation” visibly printed on both. The punishment came after an Oakleaf High School teacher said the student’s skirt was too short.


Backlash Leads to Cancellation of FAIR Testing

According to a letter from the Alachua County Superintendent of Schools Owen Roberts, FAIR testing for students in kindergarten through the second grade has been cancelled for the year. The test will be temporarily replaced by an observational sheet for each student.


ACT Scores

Alachua County Juniors Score Higher Than State Peers On ACT

Alachua County Public School juniors continue to outperform their peers in the state on the ACT college entrance exam in 2014 and almost achieve the national average score by students who are graduating. The average overall score for Alachua County juniors is [...]


A teacher at Lawton Chiles is refusing to administer a standardized test to her students. School administrators encourage parents who are concerned about standardized testing to reach out to state legislators.

Alachua County Teacher Refuses To Give Standardized Test

An Alachua County teacher is refusing to administer a state-mandated test to her students.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments