#Schooldesign Architects we could believe in

Kalamazoo-based architects from the Kingscott Associates, Brendon Pollard and Joe VanDerBos, are talking about school design in a way that is very compelling for our design team. Olivia Pulsinelli (for mlive.com’s West Michigan Business) reports about the architect’s new presentation on school design.

The major takeaway for me:

Community attributes should play a big part in determining the focus of the curricula and, thus, the structure of the space, Pollard and VanDerBos said.

By connecting curricula to the community’s important industries, for instance, students can see how the things they’re learning will help them and the careers they could have in the future.

“They can see why school matters,” VanDerBos said. “It’s not just a holding pen until you’re 18.”

The team was part of the work of the America’s School House think tank (here’s their resources page, which is really useful). According to Pulsinelli, one of the products of the think tanks is the process for creating inquiry learning spaces below.

Creating inquiry-based settings

The think tank created a step-by-step plan for districts who want to incorporate inquiry-based settings into their educational facilities.

1. Identify a need to break down barriers for a more inclusive curriculum
2. Start small: Identify a group (teachers, a single school, a grade level) to start the collaborative process
3. Appoint a respected champion to keep the vision on track
4. Be transparent: Use blogging, graphics, e-mail to keep stakeholders in the loop
5. Educate stakeholders: field trips, independent research, presentations by specialists
6. Engage in a design charette to encourage more voices
7. Commit fully: Invest the necessary resources to succeed

Source: Insights by VS, based on conversations with America’s Schoolhouse Council

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