Refurbished patio space allows for outdoor learning.
It’s a beautiful day at North Rowan High School, so why not take your class outdoors?
That’s exactly what Deborah Dixon did with her principles of finance and business class on this warm October day. An unused patio has recently been refurbished as outdoor classroom space.
Her students are clustered around tables in groups of two or three, intent on their work.
“It’s nice,” says senior Zachariah Garrison. “You get outside and get fresh air. It’s better than being inside.”
“I like the learning about managing our bank accounts,” says junior Gladys McDaniel. “I’ve learned that taxes are high for some people.”
While students work at their laptops or read recent issues of the Wall Street Journal, Dixon walks around to each table, facilitating their work.
“I love it,” Dixon says of working outdoors “They’re more focused on what they’re doing. They’re all working on a different assignment. I like that. Everybody’s doing something different, and everybody’s on task.”
Dixon, a 1974 graduate of North, has taught here for 20 years. She likes the more flexible curriculum in place, she says, thanks to the school’s renewal plan.
“I can give the students more of what they want,” she says. “If you don’t make it real world, it’s boring for them.”
Before coming to North, Dixon previously worked in Charlotte in the insurance business.
“That drive one way will eat you up,” she admits. “I just feel like I’m needed here. I understand what Meredith wants to do here, and I support that 100 percent. We haven’t had positive changes like this since I’ve been here. It’s the best kept secret in Rowan County, and that’s another reason I’ve stayed so long.”