Authored by Rise Vision- DSF Member
Are libraries really needed? That’s the question James White, M.Ed asked as he stood at the doorway of their large but unused library space.
White, who has been President of Marquette Catholic High School for over five years, wasn’t against libraries. On the contrary, he believes that books were essential to learning. What White was really questioning was if libraries were supposed to be about learning, but no one was learning in the space, then was it really the best use of the area?
White began to create a plan to reinvent books and learning at the library. It started with moving the books online. Every student at the school received an iPad, and now had access to thousands of books at their fingertips.
With the books removed, the open space was used in an innovating way. White understood that students learn best in a hands-on environment. He looked at the space and decided that if his school had a chemistry lab, then why couldn’t it have a finance lab.
The result was nothing short of state of the art. LED tickers draped the walls, and two digital displays showed a large marketwall. The computer lab doubled as finance workstations with the latest simulation software. Each semester, Marquette has about eight business classes in the lab.
The result? It’s in the data: 75% of the students are taught at a college level, and about 70% of the students that take a course in the lab will go into the finance field.
The finance lab has helped the school recruit some of the best educators in the country. While White got some push-back for removing the library, it has now become a hallmark of his school; it shows anyone visiting that Marquette stops at nothing when it comes to investing in their students future.