The Polaris Mess presents: Hello, hallway – students liberated from classroom environment reflect on the diverse learning experience


Newspaper editor Rebecca “Becca” Alonso (12) boots up one of the computers in the class’s journalism lab, nicknamed the J-Hall.

Facing a steady increase in both the student population and the number of rodent-infested classrooms, Ann Richards Stars have intrepidly taken their education to the streets, or, more specifically, the hallways.

Hallway classrooms have become a new craze, possibly signaling the twilight of the time-honored ARS tradition: the ‘traveling classroom’. Some have referred to the process of taking class in the hallway as “blended learning” – meaning that the information retained by students is about the same consistency as it would be after a thirty second pulse in a blender.

Most notably, journalism students found themselves in an airy environment, free of the restricting walls, basic tables and chairs, and ample storage of the program’s previous classroom.

“Gus [Flores-Rascon] brought a wreath, which I’m really excited about,” Ms. Sarah Walker, Ann Richards journalism teacher, said. “It lights up! We’ve also been talking curtains… [I’m] really excited about the symphony of three classrooms across.”

One note of Ms. Walker’s symphony includes the overflow noise from the newly-christened French classroom. A relaxing substitute to highly contested “DJ Days,” the background chatter has had a thoughtful impact on the students, broadening their perspectives to beyond Ann Richards’s cinderblock walls to affect a global community.

Finding themselves in a similar boat, adventurous Advanced Placement (AP) Art students accepted taking the plunge of a hallway classroom this year as an alternative to the sprawl of portfolio space in the past when they discovered that due to “stacked” (mixed grade-level) classes they would actually have to share tables with each other.

“I get to have my own space and do my thing,” AP Drawing student Nettie Comerford (12) added.

Perhaps the very origins of the “blended learning” phrase, these student artists find themselves caught in a deluge of information from the classroom across the hall: 6th grade STEM.

“It feels like I’m both learning art and STEM at the same time,” AP 2D Design student Briza Olascoaga (12) said. “I overheard a lot of middle schoolers who sound like small [children] and I’ve learned about Mayan numerals.”

Despite their rocky start, the hallway classroom trend is undoubtedly one of the most innovative and space-saving improvements the school has seen in a long time. Soon it can be predicted that classrooms will be converted into human-sized rat traps and raccoon hair salons to keep the other tenants of the school at ease.

Hallway classrooms are also a reason for students and administrators to hope that the AISD Bond passes this November. With the district’s ever-progressive planning, it has been decided that the money set aside for the Ann Richards School will convert the entire school into one massive hallway.