Presentations

  April 10-12, 2014
Crossroads & Grassroots: The Intersection of Architecture and Engineering in Planning and Design
Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, Baltimore, MD


Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 10:15-11:30 am
Creating 21c Learning Environments, Rich in Technology Integration, Through a Collaborative Process
Speakers: Jillian Storms, Capital Construction Architect, Maryland State Department of Education
Catherine Poling, Principal, Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts & Technology
Tim Schaffer, Director of Technology and Sustainability for Barrie School
James Marks, Supervisor of Construction at Carroll County Public Schools
Nancy Sturm, Principal Consultant for the Sextant Group

To most successfully create 21c learning environments that are rich in technology integration and flexible learning solutions, you must utilize the very 21c skills you are trying to teach. Learning and teaching in the 21st century has to fundamentally change and so to the means to create those spaces where that learning takes place. By embracing a collective, collaborative process that stimulates creativity, problem solving, and open communication across disciplines, innovative solutions are born. This panel offers case studies from Washington, Carroll, and Montgomery Counties in Maryland, where a collaborative educational planning approach lead to innovative designs that better addressed the needs of the learning community and improved use of resources. It will give specific examples of how to work in collaboration to better design learning spaces for students and educators that support 21st century teaching and learning strategies. We will study how Carroll County Public Schools developed its model for Intelligent Classroom design and works to insure the infrastructure is in place to meet technological needs in the future. We will examine the Barrie School’s new Learning Studio and Research Learning Lab, which were conceived through visioning charrettes with students, staff, and architects. The Learning Studios sophisticated design developed through continual collaboration between owners, educators, architects, engineers, and contractors to create off-site modular methods of construction that could be quickly assembled on site. The use of technology, furnishings, and layout of the building serve as a catalyst for transformative learning. These classroom studios physically embrace a dynamic curriculum and support opportunities for student and faculty collaboration, communication, and creativity through a highly flexible design and rich technological infrastructure. The agility of the furnishings and full integration of technology means the spatial turnover can be fluid and adapt to the type of learning at hand. The impact of the learning environment on learners, educators, and communities can be great. At Emma K. Doub School for Integrated Arts & Technology, there is the belief that all children deserve high quality instruction and access to technology, and all have the capacity for shared leadership. Students work collaboratively with one another, even across grade levels. To address the needs of students and help them learn in a 21st century classroom, the school implemented a 1:1 device environment, immersed with Promethean boards, mobile labs, green screen technology, digital photography, and video production. Since the implemented of these integrated learning strategies, there has been a marked decreased in disciplinary referral rates by approximately 50%. In our discussion, we will examine what are the critical questions to ask to determine how technology can best support teaching and learning. We will also address what support systems and infrastructure needs to be in place to insure full implementation of the technological resources provided.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To identify how to facilitate a shift from prior paradigms in educational delivery and classroom design to recognizing that “today’s learning environment has no boundaries.”
  2. To understand how to successfully collaborate with facility stakeholders to envision 21c learning facilities and develop broad community engagement and support.
  3. To learn how to enhance educational environments to accommodate students with different learning abilities.
  4. To understand the necessary support systems and infrastructure to assure full implementation of technological resources.
STUDENT ENGAGEMENT: Creating Relevant Learning Opportunities during Design and Construction Projects
Speakers: Peter Winebrenner, AIA, LEED AP, REFP, Hord Coplan Macht
William T. Stann, LEED AP BD+C, Project Executive, Forrester Construction Company
Deborah Anderson, Business Manager, Foxcroft School

School construction projects can not only yield gorgeous new facilities, but they can also provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students to get a first-hand look at the design and construction profession and process. By engaging students in the development of their school’s design, they become invested stakeholders, while also gaining knowledge about geometry, engineering, physics and design in a practical companion to their classroom instruction. By participating in activities ranging from the making of “gingerbread schools” for lower elementary students, to learning how to mix concrete, to collaboratively designing an ideal outdoor learning space, students are exposed to unique learning opportunities that incorporate the design and construction process with their existing curriculum. This session will explore opportunities to integrate an educational model into a school’s construction project and how to create strategies for the school design and construction project to be a true learning event. When learning is made relevant and hands-on, students will better comprehend the concepts and information taught in the classroom. By utilizing a step-by-step, multi-year curriculum, a cohort of students can track a project from initial planning and design, through construction, and into building occupancy. Activities are designed to align with different phases of the project and can be tailored to ages involved and to the duration of a school’s specific plan. The curriculum parallels the project’s process, providing numerous opportunities for student engagement that mirror the development of the project. Early events can include building block workshops where students lay out their ideal school, or a brown-paper exercise where students see and vote on amenities and features. In later stages of the project, students can explore site-specific sustainable design options and study the geometry of structural steel as it is put in place. As a project nears completion, students can be involved in the selection of furniture or in school-centric art displays. This session will provide an overview of curriculum opportunities and strategies, present a case study of its use in a recent project, as well as exploring lessons learned and plans for its refinement and future use.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn from practical experience how to involve students, in a relevant and educational way, in a design and construction project.
  2. Gain valuable lessons learned from a case study example of an integrated design and construction curriculum.
  3. Hear from school faculty about how students were included in the design and construction process and what feedback they received in post-project review.
  4. Leave with creative ideas that can be utilized in their own upcoming projects.
Be Empowerful
Speakers: Stephen Gastright, Educational Planner, EwingCole
Alex Gilliam, Director, Public Workshop

As part of the DoDEA Design Center we worked with Educational thought leaders, educators, designers, and facilities engineers to re-envision the educational facility that will best serve our military connected families and students for the next 50 years. After a year long effort to redefine what a school should be, we returned to the &lsqulsquo;trenches’ to work with schools in the design of their new facilities only to find that they did not share our enthusiasm for the ‘new’ educational paradigm. As it turns out, this is not an uncommon experience among education architects, and as a result we need new tools and strategies to frame the challenge to our stakeholders and get them engaged in the solutions. We will provide case studies of youth engagement in the design process and the results of that engagement. Engagement not only provides stakeholders a venue in which to have their voice heard, but it also constructs the most valuable structures to the success of a school. Those are the structures of respect, camaraderie, shared experience, and community. These invisible structures participate more in the success of a school than the physical environment, however when cultivated together with the design of the physical environment can provide substantive community identity to place. This becomes even more important in the design of a school for DoDEA, where students rarely spend more than two or three years at a particular location. Since studies show so much of memory is tied to place, these schools have to be richly unique to students to give each school a sense of identity which impactful to students for the short period they call it home. Many of the outcomes of the engagement with students provide insights into the impact of the learning environment on learners, and these are sometimes the most difficult perspectives to ascertain in the design process. An important aspect of engagement is empowerment. Stakeholders need to feel as though the contribution of their voice and action will have an effect on the process or they will be discouraged to participate. So the creation of activities and venues where students feel empowered and impactful as well as educators is critical to the process. In some cases the input is directly relevant to the design of the end facility and the participants will see their contributions in the end product. This empowerment provides students with the opportunity to be involved in grassroots initiatives to plan aspects of the new school.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about 21st Century Learning and the Cultural Shift required by administrators, educators and students
  2. Learn techniques to build community among school stakeholders and design spaces to embody that community identity
  3. Learn techniques to engage students of all ages and educators in design of their facilities in a critical way
  4. Learn techniques to remain connected to stakeholders and get continued feedback
Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 1:15-2:30 pm
Case Studies in Collaborative Design for 21st Century Learning: City Neighbors Hamilton & City Neighbors High School / St. Charles High School
Speakers: Kathleen Lane, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter
Pam Loeffelman, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP - Eastern Region K-12 Practice Director, SHW Group
Derk Jeffrey, AIA, NCARB, REFP, LEED AP – Director of Planning | Principal, SHW Group
Richard E. Conley, Principal, St. Charles High School, Charles County Public Schools
Bobbi Macdonald, Executive Director and founder of The City Neighbors Foundation, Inc
Aisha Isackson, R.A., President of Isackson Design Group, LLC.

City Neighbors Hamilton & High School are an innovative transformation of a former public school site to create a K-12 campus. City Neighbors Hamilton & City Neighbors High School are part of City Neighbors Network of schools operated by the City Neighbors Foundation. As public charter schools serving 600 City Schools’ students, the two schools share spaces in a former 1931 public middle school building and the adjacent former Recreation Center in the Hamilton Community. The 4-year journey of the 142,000 SF renovation project exemplifies sustainability and connection between school environment and teaching practices. Based on "small school model", both schools embody 21st Century education through project-based learning, arts & technology integration, student empowerment, parental involvement and community engagement. Few factors influence the creation of architecture for education more profoundly than the role played by superintendents, administrators and educators in the design process. Collectively, these individuals possess the depth of understanding--and the vision--to articulate new and meaningful learning experiences for their students. And though the voice (and support) of the school board and community at-large is critical to a successful project, it is the convictions held by instructional leaders that give rise to new models of teaching and learning. This is especially true in Charles County, Maryland. For well over a decade, the district has focused relentlessly on expanding the boundaries imposed by learning environments and expectations of the past. The new St. Charles High School, scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, leverages the strategic opportunity of a new facility to explore the frontiers of contemporary learning spaces and pedagogy. In all, it is a rather simple building that supports an out-sized vision for what high schools of the future must provide. The presenters will discuss an overview of Charles County Public Schools in general, and the district’s vision for St. Charles High School in particular. Seven years in the making, St. Charles High School was compelled by both the nature and the narrative of the instructional vision for the school. Indeed, Senator Barbara Mikulski referred to it as “boldest vision for public education” she had ever heard, a sentiment echoed in similar ways by former State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. This presentation will “connect the dots” between an inspiring vision for the future and its realization through a broad base of support.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How a well-informed and articulated vision is critical to creating new models of teaching and learning.
  2. Understand how to create spaces that foster a sense of pride, ownership and strong school culture.
  3. How a bold vision for learning inspires and secures support beyond the local community.
  4. How learning space design might change in response to preferred learning experiences for students.
Student-inspired Planning and Design
Speaker: Ron Lamarre, AIA, ALEP, ALA, LEED AP BD+C, Lavallee Brensinger Architects

Imagine an educator or design professional (educational planner) in 1914 laying claim to know the answer to 20th century education, or the planning solution for the next half century. Would they have envisioned the industrialized standardization of classrooms or the curriculum? Would a school planner in the 1950's have envisioned the open plan concepts, the energy crisis, global connections, the computer, or the internet? Just as the last century has demonstrated, preparing for the changes that will take place during the life of our schools remains a significant part of what we do as facility planners. Changes in communications, building systems, pedagogy, and learning opportunities are happening faster than ever. What are we unable to envision as we look forward to the coming decades of the 21st century? How do we plan our schools to support the next 50 years of changes in education? Knowing what we’ve learned from the 20th century, are we prepared to look beyond the first dozen years of the 21st century. What will follow our past decade’s most recognized changes? such as: – Common Core Standards - Internet-based learning – Laptops replacing textbooks in the classrooms – Personal tablets and smart phones as the learning conduit – Individualized Learning Plans Evidence-based planning and design comes in different shapes and colors and is pushing and pulling decision makers in numerous directions. Facility planning and design for the 21st century requires an open-minded attitude that embraces the available data while accepting the fact that we really do not know what we do not know. What we do know is that today’s pedagogy takes on multiple approaches and numerous paths to create a wealth of possibilities; some simultaneously. So how does a community, and their team of professionals, start to arrive at a consensus about how to plan and rejuvenate their schools for the next 50 years? In the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, it all started with the students. In creating an educational specification, the goals and visions repeatedly focused on the students’ day-in-the-life of learning and participation within their current high school (circa 1975). The students provided their facility perceptions, core values, learning routines, cultural shifts, and social interactions as a basis for change. These visioning sessions resulted in student-inspired spaces designed to support current curriculum and pedagogy; while preparing for future possibilities. From initial site and building concept through the selection of furniture and technology, the design focused on the “what-ifs” and “what’s next” for the students. Experts in the field of planning, security, sustainability, engineering, technology, audio-visual equipment, furniture, and design partnered with the educational and community stakeholders to present this student-inspired solution to the local communities of Wells and Ogunquit Maine; who approved a bond funding 100% of total project costs. Join us as we discuss strategies to engage a village to rejuvenate a high school.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn how one community's educational leaders and volunteers led the charge for change
  2. Learn how engaging students provides better facility design, and in some cases, reduces project costs
  3. Learn how comprehensive team discussions with a community led to innovative planning solutions
  4. Learn how one might prepare a school facility for the unknown changes in pedagogy and learning
The School Assessment for Environmental Typography: Understanding how Principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Operate in High Schools
Speakers: Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor Johns Hopkins University
Katrina Debnam, PhD, Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins University
Catherine Bradshaw, PhD, Professor, Johns Hopkins University
Andrea Alexander, LCPC, Lead Specialist, Student Behavior and School Climate Initiatives, Maryland State Department of Education

INTRODUCTION: The U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive School Model recognizes the school environment as one of three critical aspects of a school’s climate (along with safety and engagement). Theories such as social disorganization theory and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) suggest that an individual’s risk for involvement in deviant behavior is influenced by structural aspects of the environment. CPTED uses principles from criminal justice, architecture, and urban planning to suggest that changes to the physical environment – such as land use, layout, and building design – can serve to decrease the likelihood of violence and crime. The majority of studies of school climate are survey-based; therefore, much of what we know is student and staff perceptions of aspects of the school physical environment. While there have been a few demonstration projects involving redesigns of schools using the principals of CPTED, evaluations of these projects have provided unclear findings regarding the value of environmental modifications. The School Assessment for Environmental Typography (SAfETy) is an observational measurement tool designed to assess school physical and social environment indicators theorized to be linked with behavioral and academic outcomes and therefore provide further understanding of the relationship between the school physical environment and perceptions of climate and student behaviors.

METHOD: This project is led by a partnership between the Johns Hopkins University, Sheppard Pratt Health System, and the Maryland State Department of Education. Over the course of three days, data collectors observe the physical environment of both the school interior and exterior in 9 different locations. The majority of the 259 items involve counts of observed aspects of the environment, with a few questions utilizing a Likert scale (e.g., raters perceptions of an area or adequate lighting) or a dichotomous indicator of yes/no (e.g., presence of staff in hallway). All data is entered in real-time on a handheld device using mobile data collection software. RESULTS: Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the SAfETy data identified 13 different constructs measured across the 9 different locations of the school including: high disorder, illumination, trash and cigarettes, graffiti and vandalism, appearance and landscaping, cameras, ownership, positive behavioral expectations, positive student interaction, negative student behaviors, noise, electronic device use, and security presence. Reliability analyses seem to indicate little measurement variability between days of observation. Correlational analyses with survey and administrative data were used to help validate the measure. For example, illumination was associated with student reports of engagement and high perceptions of physical comfort at the school, whereas graffiti and vandalism were associated with decreased perceptions of the existence of rules and consequences and physical comfort. Schools where more students were observed using electronic devices were associated with higher rates of truancy. These correlational findings will be further explored using hierarchical linear modeling, taking into account school and student demographic factors.

CONCLUSION: The school physical environment is an underexplored avenue through which to improve perceptions of school climate and student behaviors. The SAfETy helps identify possible environmental targets that may be result in improved the conditions for learning.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To describe theories and research linking the school environment with perceptions of school climate and student behaviors.
  2. To describe the development of an observational measure of the school environment, the School Assessment for Environmental Typography (SAfETy).
  3. To evaluate evidence associating the SAfETy with perceptions of school climate and student behaviors.
  4. To explore the possible use this tool to improve school climate and safety.
BUILDING FROM THE GROUND UP: Maryland’s First Statewide Public Boarding School
Speakers: Michael Blake, Principal, Thomas Architects
Sean Regan, Campus Development Manager, The SEED Foundation

The SEED school of Maryland is unique in that it was master-planned in a single effort and is being built over just a few years’ time. Few boarding schools have the luxury of comprehensive planning and immediate implementation. Through this presentation, you will become familiar with the SEED School model, come to appreciate the challenges faced by many SEED students and learn how every aspect of the built environment supports SEED’s educational mission. Description of Presentation The SEED Foundation developed the SEED boarding school model and opened its first school, The SEED School of Washington, D.C., in 1998. SEED’s innovative model integrates a rigorous academic program with a nurturing boarding program, which teaches life skills and provides a safe and secure student environment. All SEED students live on campus in college-style dormitories from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon, returning home on the weekends, holidays, and summers. Unlike a traditional day school, SEED Schools’ faculty and staff have 24 hours a day to work with students, provide the support they need, and push them to achieve. This “gift of time” provides a comprehensive solution to the challenges facing inner-city youth and serves as a prototype for expansion nationwide. The Foundation has now completed construction on their second school, The SEED School of Maryland, which initially opened in August 2008. Through this presentation offered by members of the planning and development team, participants will: Learn about SEED's social mission and get to know the challenges faced by SEED students and how the boarding school model addresses their needs; Learn about SEED’s approach to campus planning and architecture, and the manner in which the built environment supports the educational program; Learn about the strategies and challenges of building a new campus in concert with the growth of the school to its full student capacity.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about SEED's social mission and get to know the challenges faced by SEED students and how the boarding school model addresses their needs
  2. Learn about SEED’s approach to campus planning and architecture, and the manner in which the built environment supports the educational program
  3. Learn about the strategies and challenges of building a new campus in concert with the growth of the school to its full student capacity
  4. Learn about plans for future SEED Schools and the feasibility process used to learn about community needs, build strong and broad-based support, and develop a plan to establish a successful school
The Process of Re-envisioning The Schools of Levittown for Twenty-First Century Learning
Speakers: David Schrader, Managing Partner, Schrader Group Architecture
Dr. Samuel Lee, Superintendent of Schools, Bristol Township School District, Bristol, Pennsylvania
Angela Nober, Board President of Bristol Township School District, Bristol, Pennsylvania

The history of the three post World War II neighborhoods developed by Bill Levitt in the northeastern United States (named Levittown) is fairly well known. These neighborhoods were considered some of the first of the middle class post-war residential developments that paved the way for over fifty years (and more) of neighborhood design. Each neighborhood had a piece of property set aside to accommodate a neighborhood school for that specific area. Bill Levitt then built the schools for the students of each neighborhood. The Pennsylvania version of Levittown in Bristol, PA now finds itself at a crossroads. The school buildings have aged without any improvements over the last fifty years. Further, escalating enrollment projections promise to swamp the current capacity. And current school finances do not allow the district to provide a comprehensive remodeling and addition campaign to accommodate their needs. Through a grassroots effort the District has developed a plan for the replacement of these nine elementary schools with three state-of-the-art structures that will; re-invigorate the neighborhoods, reduce District operating costs (to allow for a bond issuance) and most of all, to provide the growing student population of Levittown with new buildings that will provide the safety, security, and improved learning environments allowing them to excel in the twenty-first century.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to develop a clear, district-wide vision through a grassroots campaign
  2. How to do the homework necessary in the community to develop a comprehensive plan such as this
  3. The development of a high level communication strategy to allow a process like this to occur
  4. A historical context for Levittown and for the process that is occurring
Transforming Baltimore City Schools from the Inside Out
Speakers: Jennifer Dull, City Schools Manager, 21st Century Building Plan, Baltimore City Schools
Melissa Wilfong, LEED AP BD+C, Vice President at Grimm & Parker Architects

Over the past several years Baltimore City Schools has taken the first steps down the road toward one of the country’s most aggressive and comprehensive transformations in history. When this work is completed, almost every school in the district and every student City Schools services will have been impacted by this work. To insure that this impact is visionary in its implementation and lasting in its affect, City Schools has undertaken a progressive effort to redefine what a 21st Century School is and what that means to the students of Baltimore City. In this session you will hear the story of how this process has unfolded and the import steps that were taken that have now become instrumental in the success of the program. We will explore the challenges that a program like this creates and the ways in which the school district has overcome those challenges. One of the defining missions of Baltimore City Schools from the onset of this process has been an unprecedented high priority placed on the ability of every citizen to be knowledgeable about, interact with and affect change has this process moved forward. You will hear the stories from the perspective of those tasked with this work about the many tools used to reach build in all sectors of the city. In the effort to explore the questions related to what makes a 21st Century school and what does that mean to Baltimore City Schools, it became apparent that these ideas and attitudes about education affect the way in which schools are made and the spaces that are created. Since this effort will ultimately result in $2.5 billion in new construction over the city it was important that the needs of 21st Century education be codified so that all schools would be transformed through this process to progress, flexibility and inspiring learning facilities. It was that effort that led to the creation of the Educational Specification Standards for Baltimore City Schools. In this session we will discuss the process used for the creation of these standards. The exploratory nature of this process had a significant effect on the outcome of this document and provided many lessons learned for those involved. We will also describe the intensive community vetting process this document received and discuss how this in the end resulted in a level of acceptance required to move forward with the implementation of change.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Evaluate the positive impact and extensive program of community engagement can have on a transformational process.
  2. Understand in detail the decision making process that led to the creation of a comprehensive Educational Specification Standard.
  3. Hear from a in the trenches view point the struggles and success along the road to profound transformation of a school district.
  4. Understand how the exploration process taken in Baltimore City Schools efforts to create comprehensive reform could be applies on many levels to transform schools where they exist.
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