Students at St. Philip the Apostle School in Pasadena came back to school with a big surprise. Their library had been transformed over the summer into a brand new state-of-the-art Learning Commons and Primary Learning Center.

The Learning Commons, for third- through eighth-grade students, is a hybrid learning and research facility that replaced the existing computer lab.

The repurposed office space is a multi-faceted library with traditional books, Chromebook computers for research, a computer charging station, an enclosed study room for small groups, a mini classroom and an audio-visual media room.

“It is still a library, but it is much more than that. It is a classroom and a study space and the AV room has endless potential,” says librarian Natalie Ramirez.

Student council members use the AV Room to broadcast morning prayers and daily news via YouTube at

The original library that once housed all of the books for K-8th-grade students is now the Primary Learning Center for kindergarten through 2nd-grade students.  It is complete with reading nooks, a tutoring room, and a traditional “kiva” where youngsters gather together for story time. Often, students in the past sat in the hallways in small groups learning to read. Now, they don’t need to.

“That is one of the wonderful things about the Primary Learning Center. We can reserve the space for small group help. I plan to use it for reading and math groups,” says Della Gonzales, who is a first grade teacher.     

The Learning Commons and Primary Learning Center was established to help St. Philip use technology to better the educational experience of all in the school community.

“It is part of my personal agenda that no child, parent or staff member shall say they can’t do something because of technology associated with the school,” says Armando Perez, advisor to the technology committee.

The St. Philip School community feels truly grateful to have “a classroom of the future.” They plan to share their template with others.

“We want to be a model for those schools in the archdiocese who want to look at it,” says Development Director Colleen Welsh.

Father Joseph Moniz, pastor of St. Philip, blessed the Learning Commons and Primary Learning Center the first week of classes. The inception of the Learning Commons and Primary Learning Center has truly been a blessing for the St. Philip the Apostle school and the greater community.