A first look inside Henryville High's new school

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 11 at 11:41 PM

SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Eight days into Henryville Junior-Senior High School's resumed school year, parents got a first look at the Mid-America Science Park and the vastly different school day for students, teachers, and faculty.

Construction was ongoing until April 2, the day school started. The 535 students are learning the tragic tornado on March 2 has made school much different.

The classrooms are about one-third the size of Henryville High's rooms and they include chairs, not desks. You won't find lockers and some classes are even held outside for more space.

There's no space for P.E. classes, so students participate in virtual P.E. using donated Nintendo Wii Sports and XBOX Kinect to stay active. There are also just two locations for restrooms and paper placards are used to mark classrooms and teacher work rooms. Administration is confined to one room.

"You won't see the smartboards, the technology that we had, but you see a whiteboard and students gathering," said Principal Troy Albert.

Students have five fewer minutes to switch classes, though they are often walking just a few doors down. They attend eight 40-minute periods, half the class time of Henryville High before the tornadoes.

"I kinda like it, because they're not pushing as much onto it, and we have less homework, but we retain more of the knowledge," said freshman Mallory Jordan.

Teachers worry, however, what the limited time could mean for end of course assessment tests that are critical for students to graduate.

"Not only do I not have those 15 days of instruction, I have to pick and choose what I'm going to cover and hope for the best," said math teacher Erika Schwartz.

Henryville elementary, middle and high school students won't have to make up the days lost from the tornado's destruction. The state of Indiana granted the school system the waiver they were seeking. School for all students will end May 25. Graduation plans have not yet been set.

Visit our Kentuckiana Tornado section for the latest photos, stories, news and info on how you can help after the storms on March 2.

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