"Just as an unhealthy physical environment impedes learning, a healthy and well-designed school and classroom can benefit and boost learning."
- Sean Slade (The Whole Child)
Preschool is a time for early discovery and our preschool students would enjoy two comprehensive preschool locations - one at the current Eastover site and one at Conant.
These two sites will offer gross motor areas; ample classroom space; and areas to explore, play, and grow.
In this plan, our school identities aren't changing, but the physical environments will see dramatic shifts. Eastover students will occupy the current East Hills Middle School site (with renovations). Lone Pine students will occupy the current West Hills middle school site (with renovations). Conant & Way will receive additions and renovations.
Our three middle schools will consolidate into two - one at the current Lahser site and one at the current Bloomfield Hills Middle School site.
The Lahser site would receive a large addition and renovations and the Bloomfield Hills Middle School site would receive an addition and major renovations.
Seven years ago, the high school project built 2/3 of the school as new spaces, while 1/3 of the school was renovated. The older section of the building has been prone to leaks and other infrastructure issues which would be addressed as a part of this project. In addition, a health center would be built on the athletic side of the building, improving the current training facilities for student athletes, and potential community use.
Two middle schools would enable our district to preserve current course offerings for students in grades 6-8.
Our classroom environments would be designed to better support collaboration, flexibility, and current & future instructional practices.
All students deserve to learn in spaces they can access and enjoy. This plan would move the district beyond "compliance" and into "inclusivity."
Innovation and digital literacy are critical components to a successful modern educational experience. This plan would provide spaces for STEM education.
Students are asked to collaborate in the course of their learning experience more than ever before. Flexible furniture that can be moved and easily reconfigured helps students collaborate easily and effectively.
This is an old classroom.
It's pretty empty right now.
Let's put some furniture in there.
Here are some old desks.
This probably looks pretty familiar, right?
The learning is all directed
The students face forward to look in the direction of the teacher and the board.
We can rearrange the room, kind of.
Now learning is shared among students. That's a big improvement, but it still isn't optimal. There's a sense that the learning environment wasn't meant to be this way and it takes a long time to rearrange this furniture each time we need to collaborate.
Let's try something different.
Aha! Some flexible furniture really opens up the space!
Look at all that room! The desks fit together naturally and the teacher can stand among them and float between them. With everything on wheels, it's easy to rearrange the furniture - even the materials from the "front" of the room.
Sit Less Still
Giving kids a little wiggle room can make a big difference. Old learning models required students to face squarely forward and sit up straight. As teaching and learning shifts, its important for furniture to shift, too. Students need to feel free to move, collaborate, and connect easily. (The furniture seen below is just a representation of the kind of furniture available for schools to purchase. Furniture selection would occur much later in the scope and design process, after the passage of a bond.)
Learning environments for today & tomorrow...
Milkman, elevator operator, and switchboard operator... these were all popular jobs when our schools were built. Today, students become cyber security analysts and program self-driving cars. Tomorrow, they'll take on careers we've never heard of. It's our job to help prepare them for whatever their future holds.