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Past Events

Quarterly Breakfast

May 4, 2022
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM Central

Junior Achievement Youth Learning Lab
2842 W. 47th Ave
Kansas, KS 66103

Quarterly Breakfast

Join us for our Quarterly Breakfast at the Junior Achievement Youth Learning Lab presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation, located at 2842 W. 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS 66103 for breakfast!

FREE to ATTEND! Must register by May 3.

Quarterly Conversation #4

Thursday, December 2, 2021
4:00 PM

Walden Middle School
4701 NW 56th St.
Kansas City, MO 64151

Take a Look Inside Park Hill School District’s New Walden Middle School
North Kansas City
Park Hill’s new Walden Middle School is the result of master planning and community collaboration efforts leading to adoption of a new sixth grade model bringing sixth, seventh and eighth graders together in the district’s fourth middle school. The new 114,500 square-foot community-centric building can serve up to 750 students in open, flexible learning spaces while connecting students to nature. Transparent connectivity creates a safe, comfortable environment for students of each grade, with an emphasis on flexible and adaptable multi-use spaces. The site was strategically selected to offer students direct connections to nature, with a large outdoor courtyard, stream and direct views of the lush foliage surrounding the building. This connectivity, along with strategically designed collaborative spaces, supports the district’s approach to engaging and innovative learning experiences at the middle school level. Achieving LEED v4 certification, the first middle school in the state to do so, the new building demonstrates how design played a critical role in extending the building’s life cycle and reducing the carbon footprint. The entire campus is a reflection of the district’s prioritization of sustainable features, building occupant comfort, student success and staff wellbeing.

Join us at 4 p.m. Thursday, December 2 at the new Walden Middle School to tour the space and hear from both building administrators and designers who came together to create this flexible space for secondary learning.

Free to attend, please RSVP

Oktoberfest Social

Oktoberfest Social Event

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
4:00 – 7:00 pm

2100 Wyandotte St., 12th Floor
Kansas City, MO 64108

At this networking event, we will be gathering to connect with each other and provide a brief presentation regarding details for the Midwest Great Lakes Regional Conference, along with a special shout out to some of our sponsors who have stuck by us through the recent difficult times. We’ll be welcoming October properly, so don’t miss this event as we celebrate the changing of the seasons with pretzels, sausages and German drinks for our own version of Oktoberfest!

Please RSVP by September 28 for an accurate headcount.

Quarterly Conversation #2

Wednesday, June 30, 2021
7:30 AM to 9:00 AM
North Kansas City Early Education Center
6479 N. Prospect
Gladstone, MO

Adaptive Reuse – Recycling the Big-Box into a Reimagined Learning Environment
North Kansas City
North Kansas City
The new North Kansas City Schools Early Education Center fosters inclusion and equity, creates opportunities for sensory learning and active play, and gives flexibility for short-term and long-term needs. Once an empty big box store is now a vibrant learning environment that embraces biophilic design, evokes the wonder and playfulness of childhood, and supports the diverse educational, social, and emotional needs of learners and educators alike.

Quick Facts:
  • Repurposed former Price Chopper and Hobby Lobby, totaling 112,000 sf.
  • 41 total classrooms, full service kitchen, 3 playground spaces
  • Total student capacity is approximately 1,000
  • Project has allowed for the district to centralize many of their early childhood programs
    • Early Childhood special education
    • Center-based classrooms
    • Tuition-paid classrooms
    • Teen child care
    • Parents as Teachers

Virtual Meeting

March 2, 2021
11:30 am to 12:30 pm

How 2020 Challenges Bring Excellence and Evolution in Learning
How has this year of uncertainty and great challenge brought excellence and evolution in teaching and learning? Join us for a conversation on unique stories that have been learned and be prepared to share your own experience.

Gift card drawing at the end of the session!

Link will be sent on March 1 in the afternoon

Quarterly Conversation #1

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
4:30 PM to 7:00 PM
McCown and Gordon Construction
850 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Phone: 816.960.1111

Kansas City Chapter Learning Environments Social Event
2020 – KC Chapter 5 Year Anniversary! The KC Chapter A4LE Board wants to thank our members and vendors for supporting us over the last five years.

McCown Gordon HQ
McCown Gordon HQ
Join us Wednesday evening, February 19th, at 4:30 pm for a networking opportunity and a kick-off introduction of the 2020 Midwest Great Lakes (MWGL) Regional Conference. We will convene at the third-floor event space of McCown Gordon Construction for a happy hour and to promote the conference as well as to celebrate 5 years of transforming learning environments across our region.

The Kansas City Chapter is now the largest chapter in the MWGL Region! We continue to add new members due to our focus on learning, the environment and how we as influencers of the built environment can promote change within the education industry. In April of 2020, Kansas City will once again be the focus and center of attention, as members from as far away as Canada and Ohio come to hear how learning, instruction, and the environment continue to evolve to real-world authentic learning opportunities for students. “Instruction before Construction”

Join us for this networking session and learn more about our Keynote Speaker Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart. At the conference, he will help guide us in 3 design sprints focused on exploring real-world learning and design learning experiences and environments for the future. In addition to learning more about the conference, come learn how you can help us continue to provide value to our members and create more opportunities for in-depth discussions on the future of learning within our region.

Help us kick-start 2020 by showing up at our first quarterly conversation; February 19th. We look forward to seeing you and celebrating 5 years of improving learning for educators and students across our region.

Together We Can Make a Difference!
Your KC Chapter Board

Free event, please RSVP.

Quarterly Conversation #4

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
24001 W 97th Terrace
Lenexa, KS 66227

Parking – please park in South Lot

Breakfast Conversations on Innovation in Education
Canyon Creek Elementary School
Canyon Creek Elementary School
Join us on Tuesday morning, November 19 at 7:30 am for a program on exploring Innovation in Education. We will convene at Canyon Creek Elementary School to hear from educators and to explore one district’s approach to reinventing their standard prototypical elementary school design into innovative learning environments.

Canyon Creek Elementary is home to Pre-Kindergarten – 5th grade and is the 36th school for the Olathe School District. Canyon Creek is a neighborhood school serving approximately 300 students and opened its doors in August of 2019. Students at Canyon Creek receive an education that focuses on Project-Based Learning (PBL). Project Based Learning is a practice that takes a learning-by-doing approach wherein students are active participants in their own educational development. In the learning environments at Canyon Creek Elementary you will find students solving problems, participating in simulations, conducting case studies and designing research projects based on different areas of inquiry. Students learn content through a project instead of completing a project after learning the material.

Christy James the Principal at Canyon Creek will share with us how the district has approached PBL and the development of Canyon Creek into a new innovative learning environment. The design focused on learning spaces centered around activity space for collaboration including individual lab rooms and small group workspaces. A learning stair, maker space and learning commons were included for additional project-based learning opportunities. Through the redevelopment of the prototypical design, the district was able to reduce building area dedicated to circulation and save approximately 1000 square feet.

Quarterly Conversation #2

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Valley Park Elementary School, 12301 Lamar Ave, Leawood, KS 66209

Please park across the street at the Christian Church of Greater Kansas City, 12251 Lamar Ave, Leawood, KS 66209

Breakfast Conversations on Innovation in Education
Valley Park Join us on Wednesday morning, September 25 at 7:30 am for a two-part program on exploring Innovation in Education. We will convene at Valley Park Elementary School to hear from our 2018 grant winners and to explore one district’s approach to balance flexible learning environments with a mindset of safety and security.

Valley Park Elementary is home to Kindergarten – 5th grade and is the second location for the Blue Valley School District’s Chinese Immersion Program. They recently completed a significant addition to add classrooms and collaborative learning spaces for their students and staff. This highly flexible and connected environment will provide unique opportunities for bringing learners together in new ways. We’ll hear from the building principal on how these new spaces are being implemented, as well as the Blue Valley Director of Safety and Security on how the district has approached the creation of not only flexible spaces, but safe spaces as well.

In addition to a self-led tour and presentation by district staff, we’ll hear from the 2018 Innovation in Education grant winners, the first teachers awarded with A4LE funds to bring a fresh perspective to learning in the KC area. We are thrilled to welcome these educators back to share how they have implemented their grants and seen impact during the first year and beyond. Their unique views will be a fantastic way to continue the important conversation of how daily learning can be fun and engaging. Topics will cover student centered active learning spaces, a library innovation studio, implementation of a makerspace and use of a tower gardening system.

Quarterly Conversation #1

Thursday, April 11, 2019
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
PlexPod Crossroads, 1712 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64108

Street parking is available on Main Street, Baltimore, 17th and 18th.
A surface lot next to Anton's on 17th and Main is also available for a $5.00 fee.

A Conversation on Successful School-to-Work Transitions
PlexPlod As the world continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace, the challenge of preparing today's learners to be tomorrow's leaders weighs heavily on educators and parents alike. An industrial model of education is no longer the most appropriate way to create a future-ready workforce, as today's employers are looking for team members to be strategic thinkers who are comfortable with collaboration. The Kansas City Chapter of A4LE is excited to host an important conversation about how innovative learning experiences can prepare students for successful next steps.

Kari Keefe, Executive Director of the KC Social Innovation Center, will share how their organization is centralizing programs to support work-readiness and equal opportunity in school-to-work transitions. We'll gather at PlexPod, a co-working community in the heart of the Crossroads area, where we’ll leverage the power of the group to discuss how our own work experiences can shape the way we think about preparing students for successful careers and life skills through schools and community agencies.

KC Social Innovation Center (KCSIC) is a nonprofit impact agency with a mission to create economic opportunity and social impact by advancing innovation in learning, workforce development, and human capital initiatives in an age of digital transformation. The Center manages Hire KC – the original, signature youth employment program started by Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Sly James. In 2017, Mayor James expanded the initiative from a city hall program into a citywide youth success platform managed by KCSIC. Today, Hire KC is the primary funnel of youth engagement for internships in the KC Region. Participation is open to all high school and college students from the 6-county Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area.

Quarterly Conversation #4

Thursday, December 6, 2018
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Blue Valley Instructional Design Lab, Hilltop Campus
7700 W. 143rd Street
Overland Park, KS 66223

Find us on the Southwest side of the building, at the Hilltop Learning Center entrance
Download event parking map »

AIA credits will be available to attendees

IDL Space
Creating Engaging Learning Experiences Through Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a scientifically based framework focused on proactively designing environments for all learners. The framework has been adopted in learning environments throughout the United States and beyond. It is recognized in research and policy as providing a stable foundation for student-centered approaches. Dr. James Basham will provide an overview of UDL, discuss its role in the design of modern learning environments, and provide a high-level understanding of implementation. These topics will be contextualized across district, school, and classroom settings.

Join us on Thursday morning, December 6 at 7:30 am to experience the Instructional Design Lab in the Blue Valley School District for this important conversation. The Instructional Design Lab at Blue Valley’s Hilltop Campus is a space intended to unleash the inner creative genius and amplify learning for all who enter. In the lab, students and staff are encouraged to engage in the hard and messy work of creativity. Through the design thinking and project-based learning element of critique and revision, students experience a transformation of learning that results in higher levels of engagement and ownership. The goal is for every learner to embark on an epic journey focused on curiosity, self-discovery, collaboration, creativity, feedback, revelations, and empowerment as companions.

James Basham We are excited to host Dr. Basham in a space focused on creative, engaging learning experiences. We look forward to seeing you for this important conversation and will have some time at the conclusion of the event to give our guests the opportunity to help steer the direction of our Kansas City Chapter in 2019.

Quarterly Conversation #3

Thursday, September 27, 2018
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Raymore-Peculiar High School
20801 South School Road, Peculiar, MO 64078

Breakfast at Raymore-Peculiar High School

Please join us for this FREE EVENT on Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 7:30-9:00 am for a tour of the recently expanded and renovated Raymore-Peculiar High School. We'll begin this free event with a district presentation and design team panel discussion about the journey to include more innovative design elements into a fairly traditional comprehensive high school. Come learn how one fairly conservative community navigated the process to help expand student-centered learning opportunities.



The Raymore-Peculiar community overwhelmingly approved a $27 million bond issue in April 2016 to implement a recently updated facility plan. The funds were utilized to expand and renovate Ray-Pec High School to accommodate an ever growing student population, while supporting a grade level reconfiguration to better utilize space throughout the district.

The addition features an open-concept media center with ample natural light, meeting areas, a student-run coffee bar, and an adjacent culinary program. The two-story classroom addition includes a freshman center learning area with an administrative suite, a variety of lab and core classrooms, and a mass media production suite. Renovated areas include a large group collaboration space, a student-run school store, a life skills suite for students with special needs, and a renovated and expanded cafeteria complex. Also included in the additions are performing arts spaces and a storm resistant concrete dome gymnasium. Upgrades to various learning areas throughout the project support more 21st-century learning opportunities.

Quarterly Conversation #2

Tuesday, May 1, 2018
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
Millcreek Learning Center
150 S Water Street, Olathe, KS 66061

Breakfast at the Olathe School District Millcreek Learning Center


The Olathe School District’s Millcreek Learning Center has been transformed to support alternative education options for both traditional and non-traditional students, as well as district wide support offices. The center’s main focus is the district’s high school and middle school S.O.A.R. program “S.O.A.R. (Students on an Alternative Route) assists students in achieving their highest potential through individual, flexible and structured educational experiences. One common goal all S.O.A.R. students share is to earn their High School diploma.” In addition to S.O.A.R., specialized classrooms for Credit Recovery for those seeking their G.E.D., as well as Extended Absence for students who miss large amounts of school due to medical requirements are provided. The transformation of Olathe’s original high school built in 1926, as well as two later additions built in the early fifties has created a dynamic learning environment where flexible classrooms and collaborative areas are combined to provide students with choice and ownership of their learning, even if their path is non-traditional. This unique facility also houses the offices for Olathe Community Development, The Olathe Public Schools Foundation, Parents As Teachers, and Assisted Transportation, bringing many resources under one roof.

Join us on Tuesday morning, May 1st at 7:30 am to experience the transformation of the Millcreek Learning Center. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how existing space can be reinvented to support 21st Century learning opportunities and provide flexibility for the future. After breakfast and networking, a brief presentation will be shared, along with a discussion about the opportunities and challenges of this project type. After the presentation and discussion, the facility will be available for tours.

Quarterly Conversation #1

Thursday, March 1, 2018
7:30 AM – 9:00 AM
The Center for Academic Achievement
8200 W. 71st Street, Shawnee Mission, KS 66204

The Kansas City Chapter invites you to “Quarterly Conversations” Breakfast on Thursday Morning, March 1st at 7:30 am for a tour of the Shawnee Mission School District Center for Academic Achievement. We’ll begin this free event with a brief presentation by Dr. Southwick and Dr. Ziegler, followed by a tour of the facility.

The Center for Academic Achievement takes a unique approach by intertwining spaces for education, community and administration into one building. Most of the building is dedicated to housing the district's Signature Programs. State-of-the-art equipment in a setting designed specifically for the programs creates real-life learning opportunities. It includes the award-winning Broadmoor Bistro, a fully operational kitchen and restaurant directed and executed by students. It’s open to the public for morning coffee and pastries, and also for Wednesday dinners.


In addition to featuring multiple meeting rooms available for community use, the building is also home for the administrative team. With employee wellness being a key district initiative, the building houses an impressive workout facility for all employees. It also features a health center that staff members who have district health care plans can visit for medical care. In addition, surrounding gardens and walking paths promote a healthy lifestyle.

This spring, a sustainable urban farm will be planted and maintained by students to be used in the culinary program's restaurant. The energy-efficient building offers collaborative learning spaces, integrated technology, tons of natural light and even a ‘living wall’ with live plants to clean the air and buffer sound.

The 70,000 square-foot facility allows for daily interaction of school officials and students and allows the signature programs to be under one roof. The programs include: Animation and Game Design, Biotechnology, Culinary Arts and Hospitality, Engineering, Medical Health Science. Project Blue Eagle, which focuses on law enforcement, firefighting, EMT and legal professions, is located at another building to give students space to work with a firetruck and ambulance.

Quarterly Conversations #4

December 8, 2017
Time: 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Place: Missouri Innovation Campus
1101 NW Innovation Parkway
Lee’s Summit, MO 64086

Breakfast at the Missouri Innovation Campus
The Missouri Innovation Campus is offering the country’s most accelerated degree program of its kind. A progressive collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri, the Missouri Innovation Campus is reshaping the way students experience education. Students choose between four degree programs; Systems Engineering, Software Development, Cyber Security & Drafting/Design.

Photo Credit: Michael Robinson

The innovative new facility allows students to receive their college degree on an accelerated schedule while collaborating with business professionals. Please join us for this FREE EVENT on Friday, December 8 from 7:30-9:00 am at the Missouri Innovation Campus to explore the new facility designed around collaboration and unique opportunities for students.

Quarterly Conversations #3

A Collaboration Focused Breakfast at the CoLab

September 29, 2017
Time: 7:30 am –9:00 am
Place: Johnson County Community College CoLab
12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS 66210

Preparing today's learners to be tomorrow's leaders is everyone's responsibility. Mastering collaboration, communication and strategic thinking are absolutely critical. An adapted approach to learning requires a mind shift for us all: Students. Parents. Teachers. Administrators. Facilities Professionals. Join us for an exciting conversation about developing supportive mindsets and behaviors in education and how to implement change at various levels in your schools and communities. This includes gathering diverse perspectives, breaking down silos, fostering communication and giving all involved ownership in the process. Whether you're an educator or a designer, are starting a program or project from scratch or are adapting an existing approach, this topic is essential for success in creating engaging curriculum and inspiring spaces for learning.

We're excited to welcome Sudhakar Lahade as our Thought Leader. He is a Senior Consultant in Applied Research at Steelcase and an architect-design thinker-business strategist by profession. His passions are research, education, design-thinking and innovation. Please join us for this FREE EVENT on Friday, September 29th from 7:30-9:00 am at the Johnson County Community College CoLab, located in the heart of the JCCC campus. The CoLab provides many resources that support students, faculty and community partners to create collaborative, experiential learning opportunities. It's an active learning environment offering an array of resources – imaginative co-work spaces, advanced technology, technical support, research assistance, event coordination – all focused around student success.

The CoLab is located at Johnson County Community College in the OCB building, download map.

Quarterly Conversations #2

Date: April 26, 2017
Time: 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Place: Olathe West High School, 2200 W Santa Fe Street, Olathe, KS 66061

Breakfast at Olathe West High School
Join us on Wednesday morning, April 26 at 7:30 am for a tour of the new Olathe West High School. We'll hear from the building's administrators who were involved from the start on how this project was designed to enhance curriculum, challenge the idea of what high school looks and feels like and create a space for modern learners. After a Q&A session, the building will be available for tours.

Olathe West HS

Olathe West High School transforms learning into an environment that intrigues the high school mind, stimulates creativity and collaboration amongst students, facilitators, and community. In this unique setting, teachers will become learning coaches, serving students and facilitating learning through a variety of spaces and tools. Teachers won't own their rooms and instead will be a part of a neighborhood, breaking down the scale of the school and allowing for more personalized learning and a wide variety of delivery methods. Opening in August of 2017, the new facility will allow students to explore and develop skills through inquiry and curiosity in a shell that blends context and outcomes. Learning will occur through real-world simulations and problem-solving applications tackling current and future global problems and will collaborate with businesses, the community, and globally with other students abroad.

Quarterly Conversations #1

Date: February 22, 2017
Time: 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Place: Blue Valley Hilltop Learning Center, 7700 W 143rd Street, Overland Park, KS 66223

Join us on Wednesday morning, February 22 at 7:30 am for a tour of the Blue Valley Early Learning Center. We’ll begin this free event with a kick off video about high quality early education environments and Kendall Burr, Principal, Early Childhood Programs, will share her insight on the project. You’ll hear and see firsthand what has been a success with this exceptional learning environment in a non-traditional building and how these students are discovering and learning to their greatest potential every day.

What is the Hilltop Learning Center?
The Blue Valley Early Childhood program impacts nearly 900 children per year with developmental screening, speech/language services, community intervention, and classrooms. Within our 26 classrooms, we serve approximately 350 students each year.

Our classrooms serve 3-5 year olds, about half of whom have a delay or disability. Within each classroom of approximately 12 students, half are students with an Individualized Education Plan and half are students who enroll as typically developing peers. Students attend for 4 half-days per week, following the school calendar.

Our classrooms are served by certified early childhood special education teachers, paraeducators (classroom assistants), speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists. Other services such as physical therapy or services for children who are visually impaired are available as needed by individual children. Nearly all of our intervention takes place in the context of naturally occurring classroom routines.

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