Claiborne Pell Elementary School opens in Newport - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Claiborne Pell Elementary School opens in Newport

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NEWPORT, R.I. -

The new Claiborne Pell Elementary School in Newport opened Thursday.

Newport spent $30 million to combine four aging schools into one. Now 890 students are enrolled in one brand new building with technology that teachers say brings them into the 21st century.

Smart boards are in every classroom, and the students use technology to select their lunches.

There are projector screens on white boards but they're also touch screens. So each student can touch their name, which is already programmed into the computer and move it to whichever lunch option they want.

The smart board technology works for a number of programs and lesson plans that the teachers can personally create.

Each student will also receive an iPad or laptop. They have also added a cafeteria that doubles as a theater.

The principal said it will give students an opportunity to showcase artistic skills and socialize in a normal school atmosphere during lunch.

"We're so excited about the giant new cafeteria. In the other schools kids had to eat in classrooms, cafeterias were in the basements and they couldn't eat down there because of the new fire codes," said principal Kimberly Behan-Townsend.

Behan-Townsend said she hopes this school will become the model for other school districts around the state that had similar problems with aging infrastructures.

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