Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 33

Intentional Space Design school. They can, most importantly, lead people to believe that excellent learning isn’t possible in this space. To begin to seeing how space impacts all areas of a learning community, consider these questions. displayed in the hallways? • What signage speaks to mission, purpose, and the key concepts of the building? • Do your hallways tell the non-ver- bal story of your learning community? Outside of the building • What message does the outside of the building send? Many people in the community judge their school based on driving by. • Does the outside of the building speak to only safety and security or does it tell the learning story? • How does the green space showcase a level of excellence? Common Spaces Libraries, cafeterias, gymnasiums are areas that are seen and used by most students each day. In addition, they are heavily seen and used by the commu- nity. • What level of design has gone into these spaces? • Do they show the level of detail to cleanliness that speaks to the excellence in the building? Do they promote caring and belonging? • Are these areas energy creators or energy vampires? Entryway of the school • How many times do visitors see the word no as they enter the building? • Is there welcoming signage from the parking lot to the place to check in? • Are there old posters, furniture and art work near the entryway? • Do individuals feel welcomed? How soon do visitors see images of students learning? Hallways • Can students learn concepts by just walking down the hallway? • Are hallways filled with learning exam- ples that both showcase learning process and product? • What art and design features are Forgotten Spaces Visit a school’s bathrooms and their teachers’ lounge and you can learn a lot about the school. • Are the bathrooms sanitary and com- fortable? • Has design played a role in how they have changed over time? • Does the teachers’ lounge speak loud- ly to the professionalism of the staff? • Does the teachers’ space feel like a place where teachers would gather to think, reflect, and learn? The time has come to move beyond furniture and flexibility in classrooms, and begin to lead in a comprehensive way around space design. This work can be an essential lever of change for school leaders as they look to build a modern school that supports the needs of all students. By leading this way, leaders can begin the conversations and changes needed to shift the culture, community support, and capacity for learning needed for true meaningful success for all students. n DR. ROBERT DILLON serves the students and community of the University City as Director of Innovation Learning. Prior to this posi- tion, he served as a teacher and admin- istrator in public schools throughout the Saint Louis area. Dr. Dillon serves on the leadership team for Connected Learning, an organi- zation designed to reshape professional development to meet today’s needs. Dr. Dillon has published four books: THE SPACE: A Guide for Educators; Redesigning Learning Spaces; Leading Connected Classrooms; and Engage, Empower, Energize: Leading Tomor- row’s Schools Today. essentials | 33