DODEA celebrates its latest ‘21st Century’ school at Yokota Air Base
By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 25, 2017
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Classrooms with moveable glass walls that open to accommodate any number of students are part of a new energy efficient high school building at the home of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force in western Tokyo.
Yokota High School’s new facility, which welcomed its first students last month, is the second of what the Defense Department calls its “21st Century” schools.
“With 21st century teaching, we’re preparing students to be successful in life, successful as parents, as citizens, and as employees,” Department of Defense Education Activity director Thomas Brady said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.
The building — organized into four “neighborhoods” consisting of four studios with movable glass walls — reflects new methods of teaching, valuing collaboration and letting students develop their own ways of learning, said principal Priscilla Hill.
Faculty and students marked the opening by placing items such as photographs and tickets to the school’s first homecoming dance into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years.
The first of DODEA’s 21st-century facilities — Wiesbaden High School — opened on Sept. 14. A new Daegu American High School is in progress in South Korea, and new schools are included in the massive expansion at Camp Humphreys. In Europe, six new schools are under construction with 13 in the design phase.
Like the one in Wiesbaden, the Yokota school is energy efficient and was designed to use natural light as much as possible.
Nearly all classrooms have large windows, and glass walls allow natural light into the hallways. Sensor-based plumbing and lighting are intended to cut waste, and grass and plants on the roof are designed to reduce the amount of rainwater in drains.
Thomas Brady, director of Department of Defense Education Activity, cuts a ceremonial ribbon for the new Yokota High School building at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. Flanking him are Col. Kenneth Moss, 374th Airlift Wing commander, and principal Priscilla Hill.
LEON COOK/STARS AND STRIPES