Learning doesn’t happen without an effective environment. Even if we coach and train teachers and leaders to the best of their abilities, they still rely on an amazing environment to facilitate learning.
That’s why public schools often find themselves evaluating their facilities.
Too often we see schools focus on just the physical components of a facilities assessments. Of course, items like roof condition, HVAC, flooring, square footage, and parking lot are essential. But if school leaders want to design a facility that works over the long term, there are more things to consider than just the brick and flooring options.
Here are a few ways school leaders can conduct a facilities assessment that puts learning at the forefront.
Schools don’t operate in a vacuum. A neighborhood public school is a melting pot of the community. That’s why it’s critical to gather feedback from the community about the design of the school. What do parents, educators, and even students want from their facility? It’s more work, but this ensures that your facility design is in alignment with what the community actually needs, not what you think they might need.
Facilities should be designed to support the learning process. That’s why so many of our district partners first design their vision for learning before their facilities assessment. Why? Because learning always comes first.
For example, you need to know that your goal is to improve student communication skills when it comes time to design your facilities. Believe it or not, these goals will affect the desired features listed in your facilities assessment. Whether it’s creating wall-free collaboration spaces for students or introducing outdoor learning space with flexible seating, the learning process should guide your facilities assessment.
Technology is essential to designing Life Ready learning. Tech is an incredible tool that speeds up classroom processes, helping learners get to the meat and bones of a topic. It enables collaboration, autonomy, and develops skills for college and career.
However, often we see that technology and facilities are designed separately, in silos. To make areal impact on learners, integrate technology considerations into your facilities assessment. Consider how the use of technology will further your learning goals, and how that will affect the design, flow, and utility of your space.
Facilities are an essential part of learning. Not only do they house our educators and learners, but they can become an integral part of the learning process itself.
Did you know engage2learn helps districts like Fort Worth ISD with their facilities assessments? See how our LEDe process helps schools design learning-centered spaces for students.
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