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Hinsdale Middle School teachers, staff express big concerns with building

Hinsdale Middle School teahers, staff and administrators still have concerns about the school building after a major cleanup due to mold and water issues. | File photo
Hinsdale Middle School teahers, staff and administrators still have concerns about the school building after a major cleanup due to mold and water issues. | File photo

Hinsdale Middle School teachers, staff, and administrators believe problems with the building are preventing students from getting the best possible instruction, according to preliminary results of a facilities survey.

The facilities survey is being given to teachers, staff and administrators at all of the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 schools. Respondents have until May 6 to complete the survey. However, Kelly Sledz, a member of the Facilities Committee and a teacher at HMS, said 71 responses, out of a potential 100, had been received by April 28 for the HMS survey.

“The fact that so many people at HMS responded to this survey in the first couple of days says a lot about how important they believe this is,” Sledz said. “The problems at HMS aren’t new, but we’re hearing in this survey what those working in the building think.”

The survey responses indicated that 89 percent of HMS personnel believe the building has “very significant issues,” and 11 percent believe HMS has “significant issues.” By comparison, of those who have completed the same survey at Clarendon Hills Middle School, only one person believes that building has “significant issues,” and none believe it has “very significant issues.”

District 181 Board member Jill Vorobiev said she was surprised to hear how HMS personnel felt about the building.

“I hadn’t hear it before,” she said. “The teachers and staff at HMS do a wonderful job, and student learning has been outstanding. I have two kids who went there and one who is there now. But the concerns being expressed certainly need to be considered and addressed by the board.”

Sledz noted 80 percent of HMS survey respondents disagree with the statement that student learning is enhanced by the school. And 82 percent disagreed with the statement that HMS is able to successfully house educational programs for all students and their needs.

One anonymous survey response stated: “Rather than being able to do things we know are best for kids, everything revolves around space available.”

“The biggest problem is instructional space,” Sledz said.

A lack of necessary instructional space is one of the most pressing issues, based on survey responses. Air quality in the building, moisture leaks, and staff parking also were the most-often cited pressing issues.

Ninety-six percent of survey respondents disagreed with the statement that HMS is organized in terms of layout and design. And 69 percent characterized the size of classroom spaces in HMS as being less than adequate.

“My room is designed to teach 24 students science. Anytime I have more than 24 students, which is often, there are safety concerns,” is one of the comments made by a teacher.

Additional problems were expressed in the survey with the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system; the amount of shared/meeting work space, safety and security, building layout-related problems, visitor parking, and parent pick-up and drop-off areas.

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