James D. MacConnell Award


The James D. MacConnell Award will be presented to the architectural firm, school district, higher education institution, consultant, and/or construction management firm whose project best meets the following criteria:

  1. A thorough, comprehensive planning process.
  2. Development of comprehensive educational specifications and/or program of requirements.
  3. A design that meets the requirements of the educational program with special emphasis on functionality of educational spaces.
  4. Jury members will evaluate the project materials in the following areas:
    • Complete application package
    • Evidence of a thorough planning process
    • Quality of Ed Spec / Program of Requirements
    • Site development responds to architectural program and educational specifications
    • Design responds to and fulfills the needs of the educational program
    • Final built environment is a product of planning and design
    • Determine the overall level of functionality in this building

Submittal Process

All projects must have been completed after January 1, 2018.

  1. Online registration and identification of the following must be done prior to sending the application materials.

    • Identify project (Name, location, district, configuration, etc.)
    • Identify Key firms/individuals of the process

  2. Project Dossier. To address the criteria and illustrate the successful story of your project, please assemble a PDF document of no more than 30-pages in length and no larger than 25 MB. Include as many photographs and/or images as necessary to illustrate and describe the process and overall project. Please avoid solicitation of any particular brand or firm involved in the project.

    The dossier should include the following sections:
    • Executive Summary—describe the overall goals and outcomes of the project
    • Scope of Work and Budget
    • School & Community Engagement
      • Describe the Community
      • Identify stakeholders
      • Name challenges
      • Describe available assets
      • Describe value of process and project to community at large
    • Educational Environment
      • Explain the educational vision and goals of the school.
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment supports the curriculum
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment supports a variety of learning & teaching styles
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment is adaptable and flexible
    • Physical Environment
      • Describe & illustrate the physical attributes of the environment
      • Describe & illustrate how the facility fits within the larger context of the community
      • Describe & illustrate how the project inspires and motivates
    • Results of the Process & Project
      • Explain how the project achieves educational goals and objectives
      • Explain how the project achieves school district goals
      • Explain how the project achieves community goals
      • Explain any unintended results and achievements of the process & project
    • Educational Specifications
    • Educational Brief and/or Educational Visioning documents

  3. Dossier Specifications

    • All dossier files should be in PDF format and not to exceed 25 MB. Files exceeding the 25 MB will not be submitted to the jury.
    • Please insert electronic tabs for each section of the dossier so jurors can easily navigate through the information.
    • Either portrait or landscape layout can be used. Please consider that many jurors will review the material in electronic format.
    • DO NOT USE firm names and references from the descriptions.

  4. Display Board Specifications (display at LearningSCAPES is included the registration fee)

    • Submit two PDF files of a 20x40 display; one with a company logo and one without.
    • Name the files the project name:
      • Meadowlark_Display
        1. Firm information may not be included
        2. School, District, Location may be identified
        3. This file will be used by the jury
      • Meadowlark_Display_Logo
        1. Firm information and logo may be included
        2. School, District, Location may be identified
        3. This file will be used to print the display board for LearningSCAPES exhibit
    • Graphics should illustrate the key components of the project.
    • Boards can include text to tell the story and/or draw focus and attention to a particular component of the project.
    • Include a brief description of the scope of project and budget.
  5. Photo Release Form. Please complete, sign, and include the photo release form in the submittal transmission. One release per project.

  6. Optional Materials—not necessarily included in the dossier. All should be in electronic format and labeled by the project name and description of file; for example, Meadowlark El Front Entrance, Meadowlark El Ed Spec, Meadowlark El PoR.

    • Additional Images. No more than 5 additional images not to exceed 1MB each (floor plans, site plans, images of your choice to be used for promotion and marketing of the award). Firm name may not appear on photos.
    • Program of Requirements.
    • Design Guidelines.

Award Acceptance


MacConnell Award
Member 1 Project $800
Member 2 Projects $1,050
Member 3 Projects $1,300
Non-Member 1 Project $1,000
Non-Member 2 Projects $1,250
Non-Member 3 Projects $1,500

All projects submitted will be required to submit a 20x40 project display panel for the LearningSCAPES Conference. Pricing includes the display board.

For more than 3 projects, please contact A4LE at 480.831.0840 for special pricing options.

Submissions should be sent to A4LE at [email protected]

Registration will be opening soon.


Key Dates
June 1 Registration Due
June 10 Application Materials Due
June – August Jury Review
August 12 MacConnell Finalists Named
October 12-15 Award Ceremony

Become a Member


ALEP / Certificate Programs


Comprehensive industry education: ALEP, Advanced Academy and Vibrant Learning Environments


Online Awards


Visit our showcase of past online entry submissions


LearningSCAPES 2023 Conference


October 12-15, 2023
Chicago, IL