Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 31

Optimizing classroom design has primarily been the role for architects and designers on the larger scale and class- room teachers in their individual spaces. Both groups have done some amazing things to meet the modern learning needs of students, but these efforts have been limited in their scale and long-term impact because they haven’t focused on having building and district leaders central to the design process. Leaders that are playing a central role in these conversations are seeing how ex- cellent space design from the outside of the building, all the way to the classroom, leads to amazing benefits. These benefits include: showcasing the vision of the school in a nonverbal way, uniting teach- ers, students, and leaders, telling the story of the change and innovation taking place in the building, caring in new ways for the whole child, shifting teaching and learning, and finally, building leadership capacity throughout the organization. The Non-Verbal Vision Walls talk and every image speaks a thousand words about a school. Leaders are always looking for their vision of success to be understood and embraced in deeper ways by more students, teach- ers, and parents. Space design is the non-verbal vision of a school, and inten- tional design can help to get everyone pursuing the same purpose. Moving to Commitment A redesign process elevates more voices into the learning space. It de- mocratizes the decisions about entry- ways, hallways, classrooms, and librar- ies. These shared projects help to move an organization from compliance to commitment. Having a role in designing the school from pedagogical design to designing the use of digital tools to the rethinking of the space brings a fresh level of commitment to the work hap- pening throughout the school. Showcasing Innovation Schools are changing. Leaders are supporting this change, yet too much of it is trapped in individual classrooms with a small audience of individuals that both know and understand the changes that are happening. Leaders in the habit of intentional space design are able to showcase the growth and innovation at their school based solely on how the essentials | 31