Rowe middle schoolers enjoying new ‘Eagle’s Nest’

Sixth grade students play a game in the Eagle's Nest.
(Karen Billing)

R. Roger Rowe Middle School students now have a dedicated spot on campus to ”read, relax and reboot”. The new hangout has been named “The Eagle’s Nest”, the result of a student vote.

Over the last year, the second-story classroom had been used to store furniture that was not needed when making room for distancing during the pandemic. During summer break, teacher Heidi Moreno took the initiative to reimagine what the vacant classroom could be: “Middle schoolers needed their own space,” said Moreno, who is in her 11th year of teaching at Rowe.

She cleared out the room, brought in the bookshelves and packed them with middle school- level books. She added tables, chair, rugs, cozy pillows and bean bags, creating little nooks for reading or playing games together. On one table there is a community coloring activity (sometimes there is a puzzle for everyone to work) and along one wall, there’s a computer workstation.

Rowe students in the new Eagle's Nest.
(Karen Billing)

Rowe School Principal Megan Loh provided Moreno with a middle school library budget but she has also received donations of board games, cards, decor and other fun stuff to fill the space as the students make it their own.

Lunch Club students come in during the 40-minute lunch period: sixth graders on Tuesday, seventh graders on Wednesday and eighth graders on Thursday. The maximum capacity for the Nest is 20 students.

Last week, students were lounging throughout the space—reading independently, chatting over a game of “Guess Who?”, playing cards and tucked into a quiet corner reading with a buddy. A message on the screen read “Be Awesome Today”.

“It was just a nice project to do,” said Moreno. “It’s exciting getting to be in here. When the bell rings, I look forward to it.”

Moreno has opened up the space to their language arts team and envisions the space being used for lessons and author visits. She also hopes to add bistro tables to the balcony outside, for additional Eagle’s Nest seating.