Sustaining Student Learning and Success: a Holistic COVID-19 Response Strategy
a Fielding International & VS America collaboration
Table of Contents
▲ P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Gainesville (FL) USA; Design Architect: Fielding International.
Executive Summary: Shifts in Pedagogy and COVID-19
The Creative Use of Learning Modalities
Addressing Public Health Protocols: The Science of School Reopening
How to Sustain Student Learning and Success During a Pandemic
Scenario 01: Alternating/Hybrid Return Strategies
Mapping Learning and Health Practices
Scenario 02: Full Return Strategies
Scenario 03: Flexible Return Strategies
Configuring Spaces for Student Centered Learning
What Have We Learned? Where Do We Go From Here?
About Fielding International and VS America
Project Research Team: Fielding International
ent Learning and Success
Executive Summary When the CDC released their “Considerations for Schools” in May 2020, they detailed their recommendations for a return to School while the COVID-19 pandemic continued. Our Architects and Designers across all five Fielding International studios were surprised by the CDC’s calls for classroom modifications that would result in a return to a 1950’s arrangement of desks and chairs, all in rows and facing forward. The CDC recommended that students should also be separated by clear plastic barriers. They based these recommendations on the notion that COVID-19 is spread by droplets. However, it was discovered later in the summer that the virus was transmitted as an aerosol. This book examines a broader spectrum of sustainable educational strategies for COVID-19 and beyond.
The reopening strategies presented in this first release of our upcoming book is the result of our discussions with and the research we received from doctors and scientists in the fields of Infectious Diseases and Public Health. Modern schools should be places of learning that engage students and are healthy places in which to learn. This means the issues of fresh air ventilation, balanced natural and artificial light, superior acoustics, and public safety must be taken very seriously. We need to reimagine “school” as a physical place that is sustainable on multiple levels. A place that promotes and supports sociological and technological equity, is a resilient and flexible place in which to learn and is fully accessible to all. These qualities create learning environments that support every child and enables each of them to thrive.
▲ Wayneflete Lower School, Portland (ME) USA; Design Architect: Scott Simons Architects. Small groups and individual students utilize huddle spaces for collaboration and feedback.
Shifts in P
▲ Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA; Architect: Fielding International. Students working side-by-side on soft modular furniture in the Learning Commons. The three Return Scenarios now in use in most public and private school districts (Full Return, Alternating/Hybrid Return, and Flexible/Remote Return) should not be viewed as three distinct scenarios but rather as a single holistic return strategy. This approach would offer differing stages of return, depending on the circumstances of each school community. We need to be agile and flexible in returning students and teachers to school. Without taking this mindset, each school is at the mercy of fluctuating infection rates. We recommend that school districts and communities prepare for all three Scenarios with the physical and administrative infrastructure in place for all three stages of return. This approach allows the percentage of returning students to be dialed up or down.
The latest science strongly advises all schools to properly filter the air within the school, introduce fresh air into the classroom spaces, and install UV-C air cleaners to kill the virus. All Scenarios require strict discipline and adherence to Individual and Environmental Factors. The Individual and Environmental Factors are outlined later in this book, and are discussed in the technical brief prepared by our partnering MEP Consultants, Creative Environment Corporation (a division of Thielsch Engineering). Current school department protocols include contact tracing, health questionnaires and individual temperature taking. Families are also required to observe their children and notify their school if anyone is feeling ill. Most importantly, every single student and teacher, administrator, and visitor must wear a face mask!
Pedagogy and COVID-19
In each section of this book, we provide details and strategies recommended to minimize COVID-19 infections. We cannot prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Our goal is to provide strategies to allow for smart adjustments to reopening schools. Where are we now?
We can only hope our approach of deploying all three Scenarios in a single holistic return strategy will provide a framework for your school to adopt as you navigate through these challenges and make decisions that work best for your community. Fielding International and V/S International have developed a new toolkit with which to build possible solutions and consider the vision we have illuminated.
The challenges are daunting. There is not enough time, resources, money, and equipment to create a perfect environment. School districts and teachers have worked extremely hard to open in some fashion using whatever is available to mitigate COVID infection rates as much as possible.
We hope that you will embrace the idea that all reopening plans should not only find ways to mitigate infection rates but create new kinds of learning spaces that engage students. In the end, all solutions must create a safe school environment that enables all learners to thrive!
▲ Strathcona Tweedsmuir, Alberta, Canada; Design Architect: Fielding International. The large, open commons provides a multitude of options for students to engage in individual or group learning.
▲ Col.legi Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain; Design Architect: Fielding International. The custom built climbing wall, inspired by the surrounding Montserrat Mountains, provides opportunities for gross motor play.
▲ Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA; Architect: Fielding International. Eden Park Learning Commons is designed as the main area for gathering. It is equipped with modular furnishings that allows children to create their own ideal set-up for learning.
Guiding Principles Guiding Principles describe a school’s beliefs and philosophy about the relationship between the educational goals, student-centered learning experiences, and the design of high-quality learning spaces. When in alignment, the goals, experiences, and built learning environments create a cohesive approach to the school’s educational ecosystem. In action, they reflect a community’s past, present, and future to ensure generational sustainability while promoting innovation. Carefully selected Guiding Principles tend to evolve to changes in culture and technology over time. When acted upon with great intention and consistency, Guiding Principles help support and realize equitable learning environments where all learners thrive. ▼ Hillel Day School, Detroit (MI) USA; Architect: Fielding International.
Holistic Supportive Learning Culture Great learning happens when each child’s well-being and purpose are supported. Holistic education is one where the learning culture supports each child’s diverse background, strengths and weaknesses, and perspective. It is given meaning through social relationships, connections to the community, and the natural world.
Learner Centered Learning ecosystems are student-led multi-dimensional environments that support learning by doing with a wide range of activities. This type of environment exemplifies a synergistic relationship between the learner and the facilitator. It fosters a generosity where educators seek to engage the students, yet honor and respect how they want to spend their time exploring complex interdisciplinary challenges. By embracing learner centered agency, learners and teachers co-create excellence through a high-quality curriculum.
Equity and Access We need to reimagine “school” as a physical place that is sustainable on multiple levels, promotes and supports sociological and technological equity, is a resilient and flexible place in which to learn, and is fully accessible to all. These are key guiding principles all schools must embrace to create learning environments that support every child, enabling all to thrive.
Embrace Innovation Great learning happens when constant evolution supports creative and intellectual pursuits. A culture of innovation supports life-long learning through an iterative process. Innovation is an investment where community members take risks that foster 21st-century learning by believing that change happens collectively and is sustained over time.
Learning in Community This requires a fundamental paradigm shift from the teacher-centered one-dimensional learning environment to multidimensional environments that support learning by simultaneously engaging students in a wide range of activities. This type of synergistic relationship between the learner and the teacher fosters a generosity where educators seek to engage the students, yet honor and respect how they want to spend their time exploring complex interdisciplinary challenges.
The Creative Use of Learning modalities are the different learning experiences teachers use to facilitate individual or multiple-sized group activities in student-centered learning environments. Authentic, relevant, and complex learning utilizes inquiry-based and project-based methodologies to build critical thinking, reasoning, and collaboration skills. To meet their educational goals and for teachers to track progress, they must demonstrate what they know and can do. Through various learning modalities, students can communicate their thinking, articulate their reasoning, and share their artifacts and products. Therefore, designing an agile learning environment provides the physical affordances needed to flex and pivot for the variety of learning modalities required.
Peer-to-Peer Peer-to-peer activities provide opportunities for learners to exchange ideas, provide feedback on current work, and set goals to meet personal learning targets. Activities that elicit higher-quality thinking may include warm and cool feedback protocols, pair and share activities, and peer conferencing.
Storytelling Storytelling is the symbolic link between concrete facts and the abstract emotions tied to effective, powerful learning. It can happen in pairs, small, medium, and large groups. Storytelling is the beginning, middle, and end in a narrative that conveys the more profound message behind the story. It has the power to reshape knowledge and content so learners can contextualize information in relevant and meaningful ways. Storytelling activities may include interactive reading, reading aloud, oral stories, visual film narratives, and echo stories.
Individual and Reflective Reflective and metacognitive solo activities give learners the time and space to activate prior knowledge, to apply their own understanding, and to reflect on selected problem-solving strategies. Individual and reflective activities may include need-to-know lists, concept mapping, metacognitive wrappers, quick writes, and exit cards.
▲ Strathcona Tweedsmuir, Alberta, Canada; Design Architect: Fielding International.
▲ St. Martin de Porres, Cleveland (OH), USA; Design Architect: Fielding International.
▲ Col.legi Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain; Design Architect: Fielding International.
▲ Wayneflete Lower School, Portland (ME) USA; Design Architect: Scott Simons Architects.
Project-Based Project-based learning (PBL) is a process where students authentically engage in solving real-world problems. Through comprehensive research, prototyping, identifying various perspectives and points of view, taking action and weighing the consequences of a final product, and finally, students sharing their conclusions with an audience beyond the four corners of a classroom, students complete the inquiry process. PBL activities include many learning modalities where students manage their own learning and have agency within the learning community. Activities may include large group project launches with authentic audiences, small group research with prototyping and drafting, and multiple critiques and revision rounds.
Small Group Small group activities invite students to engage in discussion, gain insight from other perspectives, and see and hear the work done by other groups and individuals. Small groups allow learning to be self-managed by the students developing their time management and collaboration skills. Small groups activities may include protocols such as open, narrow, close, pinwheel discussions, small group dialogue protocols, and critique protocols.
Seminar and Socratic Seminar and socratic dialogue happens in medium-sized groups. 10 - 15 Students participate in focus groups with a variety of student learning targets and outcomes. These methods involve students taking turns, which in turn builds students listening, observing, paraphrasing, and synthesizing skills. Seminar and socratic activities may include critical friends protocols, spiderweb discussions, reciprocal teaching conversations, non-volunteer participation protocols, and snowball groups.
Large Group Large group activities are either agentic in nature where students appropriate the best learning space for themselves or are facilitated by teachers to provide structured forums for students to engage in dialogue about their learning. Large group activities may include whole group direct instruction, student work gallery walks, chalk talks, fishbowl discussions, conver-stations, poster sessions, and presentations.
Technology-Based In today’s world (before, during, and after COVID-19), technology has become the primary transparent tool that drives learner and teacher productivity. Technologybased learning (TBL) provides delivery, productivity, and collaboration tools to support multiple learning modes. TBL activities may include face-to-face discussions, collaborative workspaces, rotation stations, simulations and scenarios, webinars, forums, and gaming. These activities can be designed as both synchronous and asynchronous to create an alternating/hybrid experience.
▲ Hillel Day School, Detroit (MI) USA; Architect: Fielding International.
Addressing Public Health As the COVID-19 pandemic shut schools worldwide, we focused on developing recommended strategies to reopen schools using three Scenarios. We built each scenario with the understanding that the COVID-19 virus is principally spread as an aerosol contaminant, not as droplets as was initially thought. An infected person with no mask who sneezes openly in a classroom will create a vapor cloud of viral particles that will rise to the ceiling and then settle down upon that room’s occupants. The concentration of viral particles and the time unprotected people are exposed are two critical factors in how effectively the virus will spread. However, wearing a face mask, dilution of the viral particles by aggressive ventilation with fresh outside air, and filtration of the classroom air with a HEPA based air filter at the ceiling will mitigate the spread of the virus. Installing a UV-C chamber system will serve to kill the viral particles. Unfortunately, most schools cannot do all these things due to lack of time and money, but most school systems can certainly do some of these things, and something is always better than nothing. We have based our recommendations on strategies to hopefully reduce the rate of infection in the classroom on the research conducted by several doctors and scientists over the last several months. Many times we have read their abstracts before publication. Some examples include the Risk Management Framework by Dr. Christopher Gill and his team at Boston
University, or the breakthrough work on the infection vectors by Dr. Marr and her team in Virginia, which identified the principal COVID infection vector as an aerosol. This revelation instantly rendered the CDC’s recommendations for classroom configuration, plastic barriers, and many other forms of PPEs in the classroom, ineffective or irrelevant! Finally, Time Magazine caught up with the research and, on August 25, 2020, published the following article – “COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence; Now It Is Time to Act.” Ventilation, Filtration, Protection In mid-summer 2020 researchers and scientists identified three critical strategies to employ in all interior school spaces to slow the infection spread – VFP! Ventilation is extremely important in all stages of reopening, the school classrooms and other spaces occupied by students and teachers should be well ventilated with as much fresh air as possible to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Closing the windows goes directly against this recommendation. A better option would be to open all of the windows or provide window fans to bring in outside air and exhaust stale air out of the classrooms. The more air changes you provide in a room, the more you dilute the airborne aerosols potentially containing COVID-19 viral particles.
▲ WHO (above) and CDC (below) physical distancing protocols were carefully examined when developing return scenarios for schools and designing classroom layouts.
Filtration is also a critical component in reducing the density of viral particles in the air of all occupied school spaces. In the Summer edition of Environment
Protocols International (2020), Dr. Linsey Marr and her team of researchers and scientists published a paper titled, “How can airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors be minimized?” They argued that “existing evidence is sufficiently strong to warrant engineering controls targeting airborne transmission as part of an overall strategy to limit infection risk indoors.” Their team recommended, “Appropriate building engineering controls include sufficient and effective ventilation, possibly enhanced by particle filtration and air disinfection, avoiding air recirculation and avoiding overcrowding.” Mask Wearing
Avoid Shared Items
Cleaning and Disinfection
Revise Traffic Patterns
▲ The transmission rate of the virus is affected by Individual Behaviors (hand washing, mask wearing, social distancing, avoid shared use items, and other personal habits) and Environmental Factors (indoors vs outdoors, ventilation rates, airflow patterns, temperature and humidity, cleaning and disinfection). Screening and a rapid coordinated response to possible outbreaks are also very important factors.
In response, our mechanical engineers at Creative Environment Corporation (CEC) developed a series of air cleaning strategies for the typical school classroom, which are generally 20-years or older. Many of which do not have sophisticated ventilation systems or operable windows. CEC’s recommendations include solutions to maintain ventilation of a school’s indoor air with outdoor air out to keep viral concentrations low. These solutions include using a ceiling-mounted air cleaning system fitted with HEPA filters to filter out pathogens and shielded UV-C lamps to kill any remaining COVID-19 viral particles left in the air. Commercial Air Purifiers are not appropriate for this task! Protection - As the Georgia Department of Schools has recently shown us, children are not immune to COVID-19. Without face protection, the mass infection of unprotected students will occur at a rapid pace. It is logical and recommended that everybody wears a mask in all the return scenarios enabling students in collaborative teams to remain close.
ence of School Reopening
The wearing of a mask not only mitigates the spread of airborne aerosols (sneezing), it will also limit the number of viral particles a person wearing a mask might inhale in this instance. This could result in incidental exposure. Some medical researchers are now suggesting that incidental exposure may stimulate a person’s “T” cells to produce antibodies without succumbing to a full breakout of the COVID virus. Mechanical Engineering Protocols In support of these recommended health protocols, the environmental factors outlined above are described in greater detail in a technical brief prepared by our partnering MEP Consultants, Creative Environment Corporation. Equity and Access Education, public health, and medical community experts have all come together to weigh in on the complexity of safety and management needed for COVID-19. We must also consider the issues of equity and access to services typically provided by our schools and address the problems of providing a socially and emotionally supportive environment for our children. The three top return models are Full Return, Alternating/Hybrid, and the Flexible/ Remote in the United States. Our team of architects and educators at Fielding International has designed three Scenarios based on these re-opening models. These Scenarios consider the distancing recommendations by both the CDC and WHO guidelines, social and emotional development supports, and a students’ unique needs. Bringing it all Together The three return Scenarios now being considered in most public and private school districts (Full Return, Alternating/Hybrid Return, and Flexible/Remote Return) should not be viewed as three distinct Scenarios but rather as a single holistic return strategy. This approach would offer differing stages of return, depending on the circumstances of each school district. We recommend that school districts prepare for all three Scenarios because they function as a single phased approach. Without taking this mindset, each school district is at the mercy of fluctuating infection rates. We need to be agile and flexible in returning students and teachers to School. The percentage of returning students can be dialed up or down with the physical and administrative infrastructure in place for all three stages of return. Staying creative with time and space can be a challenge, mainly if sudden changes occur. Mapping possible scenarios is a vital tool for remaining nimble and building resilience. The following Scenarios are based on humancentered design to ensure all learners are safe and in a position to thrive.
▲ The concentration of viral particles is the key to how effectively it will spread in a dilution of the viral particles by aggressive ventilation of the air volume with fresh outsid the ceiling, and if possible, filter systems that use a UV-C chamber system.
classroom. This can be mitigated by everyone wearing face masks, de air, by filtration of the classroom air with a HEPA based air filter at
▲ Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA; Architect: Fielding International.
How to Sustain Student L
if community transmission rate decreases...
▲ Full Return Strategy Approx. 95% of Students return to in-person learning 5 days a week.
▲ Alternating Re On alternating days, approx. in-person, the remaining 50 activities re
eturn Strategy . 50% of Students attend 0% engage in enrichment emotely.
if community transmission rate increases...
▲ Flexible Return Strategy Students who require in-person attendance attend in-person, the remaining engage in blended learning.
uccess During a Pandemic
Scenario 01 Access and relationships are vital for all learners to thrive. Emphasize the importance of prioritizing learning goals to create equitable spaces for every student. Participate in those spaces through in-person and virtual learning environments that are founded in equitable and reliable resources. The Alternating Return model is a combination of inperson learning and remote learning. In this hybrid scenario, the student population is split into two groups that alternate between attending the physical building and engaging in remote learning from home. This essentially reduces the amount of people in the building at any given time, freeing up space for social distancing. It allows for on-site learning while maintaining the CDC’s recommendation of six-foot distancing or WHO’s recommendation of one meter (~ three feet) distancing guidelines or regional mandated guidelines, which vary state to state. Many districts and schools are offering schedule variations, including alternate schedules by day, week, or even split schedules within the same day to assure this learning model meets the needs of all student populations. Unprecedented challenges require us to imagine new learning opportunities and adjust to changing role expectations. This is an opportunity to create hybrid environments where students demonstrate ownership over the learning process, reimagine accessible and independent content delivery, and navigate collaborative groupings that promote asynchronous participation.
• Ma emo pers to so
• Ac with redu
• Acc learn stud to em ▲ Academy of Holy Names i-Lab, Tampa (FL), USA; Design Architect: Fielding International.
aximizes the potential for social and otional needs to be met both inson and online while schools adhere ocial distancing guidelines.
ccommodates districts and schools h facilities that need density uctions for larger populations.
cess to synchronous and asynchronous ning allows for new types of dent-centered opportunities merge.
▲ A single classroom can be configured with multiple furniture types to allow for different activities to happen simultaneously. In this example, small groups of students are simultaneously working on enrichment activities with a teacher and completing individual assessment tasks.
/Hybrid Return Strategies
We crafted a daily schedule for a student at one of our recent projects, Eden Park Elementary School, to demonstrate how COVID safety measures, educational best practices, and social and emotional well-being can all be addressed in these challenging times. By following the student from space to space in this “Day in the Life” scenario, we hope that you can find solutions that will fit your school’s needs.
Day in the Life: a Tool for Learning Design
Mapping Learning and He After Alex arrives at school, he moves to his color-coded learning zone and gets his grab-and-go breakfast.
8:00 - 8:15 AM Breakfast and Attendance
It is important to build in social and emotional wellness for students.
Alex needs to use the restroom. He follows the color-coded directional pathway.
9:00 - 9:05 AM Bathroom Break
8:15 - 9:00 AM Advisory
his hands but forgets mask. His teacher pro him with a new mask.
Advisory is attended by both Alex and his peers at school and with his distance learning classmates synchronously to promote social and emotional wellness.
s his ovides
Alex transitions to a learning studio in his zone for literacy direct instruction and individual practice with new skills.
Hand & desk sanitation measures are taken throughout the day.
9:30 - 10:30 AM ELA Literacy
9:00 - 9:30 AM Academic and Instructional Assessment
10:30 - 12:10PM Math Workshop and Rotations
Alex returns to his color-coded learning zones. He goes to the small group room in his zone for math instructional assessments and peer-to-peer support.
Math is held altogether in one learning studio. Learning stations and small-group practice using hands-on manipulatives and devices.
Alex has lunch in his learning studio. He is provided a grab-and-go lunch from school. The teacher distributes the meals and Alex eats at his desk.
12:15- 1:00PM Lunch and Recess
It is important to ventilate enclosed and move activities outside whenever possible.
Alex returns to his color-coded learning zone with his class. They clean their spaces and pack-up to leave for the day.
2:25- 2:35PM Cleaning
1:00 - 2:25PM PBL Prototyping and Teacher Workshops
After recess, the students move to an outdoor learning space. The teacher launches a Social Studies project-based learning entry event.
Scenario 02 Movement and social connections are necessary for children to learn. Variation of student groupings within learning environments are possible; multiple instructional spaces can be differentiated for learning activities. In a Full Return model, all students are welcomed back to school facilities synchronously. If this model is selected, recommendations for social distancing measures will need to be carefully considered. Using the CDC’s recommendation of six-foot distancing, we have found that only 40-45% of the students in a typical class will fit in the classroom. Other areas of the school such as a library, cafeteria, or gymnasium will need to be considered as instructional space to maintain this distancing requirement. Using WHO’s recommendation of one meter (~ three feet), could allow most—if not all—of the students in a class to fit in the classroom. Distancing recommendations are constantly changing so it is important to check with your state, district, or school to see if a recommendation has been adopted. Regardless of distancing protocols, movement and social connections are essential for children and must be considered when designing learning environments. In this model, movement and social connections within the learning environment is possible if space is repurposed strategically.
▲ Kenora Catholic, Kenora Ontario Canada; Designer: David Jakes Designs.
Key Benefits • Repurposing space supports meaningful learning and appropriate distancing. • If properly designed, student movement and social connections can be accomplished. • If a full return can be done safely, logistics and operations may be simpler than the other two scenarios. ▲ Learning studios can be reconfigured to host a variety of learning modalities and experiences. In this example, a learning studio is set up for a socratic seminar, allowing 10-15 students and a teacher to discuss content.
Full Return Strategies
Scenario 03 Flexibility and equity must drive education decisions. Being flexible to the unique needs of students, families, and educators; creating equitable learning environments that are responsive to these needs. Districts and parents seeking flexibility may start the year with most students primarily at home using the Flexible Return model. The model can support full-time in-school learning prioritized for youth in high-need situations based on family work or living circumstances, support for SPED & EL, and those without access to remote learning. Schools have the option to schedule small groups of students into physical buildings for a variety of activities, including one-on-one check-ins with teachers, small group instruction, collaborative work time, and facilitated learning experiences; facilities are strategically set-up to safely accommodate these types of activities. While the model can support full distance learning, a blended approach can be incorporated with consideration given to how time and space are used, with defined roles for teachers and students. Consider delineating roles so some teachers are focused on distance learning while others are leading the in-school activities.
▲ Fisher STEAM Middle School, Greenville (SC), USA; Design Architect: Fielding International.
Key Benefits • Allows schools to quickly turn the dials of how much physical gathering is possible. • Deepens relationships between students, teachers, and families through the creative use of time and space. • Purposefully uses school facilities for active, collaborative learning with authentic equity considerations built-in.
▲ Learning commons can offer the opportunity to provide spaces for de-densified individual and group work. In this example, individual students occupy different areas of the learning commons to work on their own or receive help from their peers or a teacher.
Flexible Return Strategies
Configuring Spaces The relationship between a quality facility and quality education depends on life-long learning values and the built environments that inspire life-long learning. In the modern world, humans spend the majority of their time inside built environments. Design learning environments with the capacity to nurture creativity, interactions, and productivity. A Learning Community is a unique collection of spaces that is home to a group of building users. It offers an interconnected array of different spatial types equipped with a variety of flexible furniture and equipment to support a variety of learning modalities. Learning Communities address the critical need of breaking down schools into smaller, more intimate settings. This Learning Community approach looks slightly different at elementary, middle, and high schools to respond to the developmental needs of each age group. Learning Communities pave the way for flexible academic groupings, increased independence, self-regulation, and collaboration through student-centered learning. Our spaces foster ownership and support relationships in an environment where both teachers and students share the learning commons, studios, and breakout spaces. At Fielding International, we support the teachers as they move from a traditional model where they owned a classroom to a shared Learning Community model. ▲ Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA; Architect: Fielding International.
▲ Implementing Learning Zones (indicated above using different colors) can help create pockets of space for different activities and groups of students.
tudent Centered Learning
Ubiquitous Technology Discovery STEM Academy, Newport News (VA) USA; Design Architect: Grimm + Parker. AI, cloud computing, analytics, mobility, and video have reshaped collaboration. Spaces for Technology Access - privacy, site lines, connections to other spaces, and connectivity are priority for learning to use their hardware as a transparent tool for productivity.
Learning Commons International School of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; Design Architect: Fielding International. Designed for large groups engaged in a variety of collaborative activities. A multidimensional informal space with access to materials, power, connectivity, hard and soft reconfigurable flexible seating; they include both standing and sitting options. A learning commons is designed to stimulate the senses with variable wayfinding and lighting to define zones within the commons. It includes student access to work walls - both fixed and dynamic, and long-term and short-term student work displays.
Cave Spaces and Nooks Hillel Day School, Detroit (MI), USA; Architect: Fielding International. Places for individual research, reflection, and metacognition. These types of spaces foster the individual production time needed before and after interactive collaboration, inquiry-based dialogue, and self-reflection. It is a space to process and ponder without interruption or a perceived sense of privacy. It has half walls, partitions, acoustical treatments, appropriate lighting, and access.
Socratic, Huddle and Seminar Spaces International School of Kazan, Tartarstan, Russia ; Design Architect: Fielding International. A space designed for groups of 10-15 learners and facilitators to engage in dialogue, inquiry, and storytelling. Socratic or seminar spaces require minimum reflective surfaces, adequate lighting with noise-reduction carpeting and wall coverings provide optimal visual and acoustical support.
Student-centered learning is a multi-dimensional learning experience. It occurs in environments when learners authentically fill a gap between past experiences and current events. Humans acquire new information and integrate new knowledge with their own personal and prior experiences. Multi-dimensional student-centered learning environments promote inquiry-based interdisciplinary learning while simultaneously allowing multiple learning modalities to occur at once.
Authentic and Experiential Learning Strathcona Tweedsmuir, Alberta, Canada; Design Architect: Fielding International. Interdisciplinary and inquiry-based experiences, launched formally or informally in a Learning Commons, lead to teachers and students’ utilization of other breakout spaces. Students work collaboratively on a variety of activities individually or in groups simultaneously. Students engage in student-led or teacher-facilitated learning that does not have prescriptive steps or a defined outcome. The image is a multidisciplinary, organized, shared experience, but may look chaotic or busy to the casual observer.
Teacher Collaborative Development Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA; Architect: Fielding International. Comprehensive teacher professional development is essential when creating learner-centered spaces to ensure all teachers’ pedagogical development needs are met. Therefore, providing teachers with the essential time to design interdisciplinary curriculum alongside professional workroom spaces that foster co-planning and collaboration is vital in creating modern learning environments.
Research, Information Gathering, and Design Grafflin Elementary School Maker Lab, Chappaqua (NY) USA; Design Architect: Fielding International. Physical affordances in learning environments provide students and teachers spaces to engage in investigative dialogue, peer critique, personal reflection, and much more. It offers learning spaces to actively invite in industry partners and experts to co-create and provide feedback on projects founded in authentic, competency-based, and standards-based learning. Students and teachers can use small group rooms for direct instruction or facilitated learning opportunities. These spaces combine intrapersonal and interpersonal strengths to allow students to fully realize the interdisciplinary relationship between educational goals, cognitive acquisition, and physical space appropriation. Socratic and small group spaces, both formal and informal, encourage breakout groups, and collaborative project teams.
Outdoor Learning Experiences Sinarmas World Academy, Serpong/BSD City, Indonesia; Design Architect: Fielding International. Learning outdoors increases student activity levels, aesthetic awareness, and can be linked to stronger language skills, authentic problem-solving opportunities, and collaboration through projects and group activities. The outdoors can readily provide a full range of activities traditionally thought of for “indoors.” Outdoor learning space affordances include a range of physically active play and spaces for learners to initiate personal learning opportunities.
What Have We Learned? Here we are, as of this writing, COVID-19 is still raging, the challenges are daunting, and sadly each state has come up with their own plans because there has been virtually no coordination of strategies at the national level. Even the CDC is out of step with global research and science on mitigating the virtual infection rates. And finally, there are not enough resources, money, and equipment to create a safe school environment for our kids. We will get through this, but what have we learned, and what comes next? Part Two is about what comes next! In many surprising ways, COVID-19 has become the demarcation line between 20thcentury culture and emerging 21st-century culture. It is now clear that Coronavirus will change the world permanently. Our attitudes for virtually every act of life has shifted. Our values are recalibrating for how we travel, what is an acceptable risk, what levels of incompetence we will tolerate. What level of security and surveillance will we accept in our personal lives? The global, novel virus is already reorienting our relationship to our government and our ebbing faith that they will do the right thing. We are witnessing tidal changes in our perceptions and attitudes for race relations, equality, and personal lifestyle choices. The epidemic also revealed deadly flaws in the health care systems of many countries, and it awakened us to the need for a serious reexamination of the very life safety and environmental regulations we use in designing our schools. We must find solutions to nurture Student Voice, not minimize it! The long-term impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated. It will have a long-lasting effect on the direction of school design and education practices in the 21st century. However, one thing is for sure, and that is, we must move forward to find solutions instead of stumbling backward. We cannot return to an antiquated classroom-centric "cells and bells" school layout, which has revealed itself in this pandemic to be inflexible and generally not a healthy way to design new schools. In Part Two, we will look at the current revolution in school design and the emerging trends that will lead to healthier, more engaging, and flexible places for learning. We will explore how to design schools that will be safe, healthy, and relevant for the 21st-century child and their 21st-century teachers!
▲ Crow Island School, Winnetka (IL) USA Architect: Perkins, Wheeler and Will and Eliel and Eero Saarinen Restoration Architect: Perkins&Will
▲ International School of Kazan, Tartarstan, Russia; Design Architect: Fielding International.
ere Do We Go From Here?
About Fielding International (formerly known as Fielding Nair International) is an award-winning international education design firm. We design school facilities for today and tomorrow with one primary goal in mind—to improve learning. Fielding is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of architects, educators, and designers. We help our clients to envision and design innovative schools that support student-centered learning. The environments we design form both a continuum in our exploration of learning, and also a unique expression of our school partners and their missions. Fielding was established in 2003 as an architecture firm focused on designing learner-centered schools around the world. For seventeen years the firm has grown, partnering with school communities and our global education partners to reimagine “school” as a physical place that is sustainable on multiple levels, promotes and supports sociological and technological equity, is resilient and flexible in which to learn, and is fully accessible to all. These qualities create learning environments that support every child and enable each of them to thrive. www.fieldingintl.com
VS America, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of educational furniture for K-12 schools, colleges, and libraries. Focused on best practices for educational facilities worldwide, VS develops adaptable, ergonomic, and sustainable furniture solutions which allow for the creation of agile learning environments. At VS, we believe successful learning should balance the needs of the body, mind, and soul. We always encourage mobility and natural curiosity. From our fully-adjustable chairs to modular tables that encourage collaboration, we believe that learning is an active process. When students engage their senses while learning, the long-term benefits include a heightened focus, stronger motivation, and a sense of well-being. www.vsamerica.com
Featured Schools (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15)
P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Gainesville (FL) USA Wayneflete Lower School, Portland (ME) USA Eden Park Elementary School, Cranston (RI) USA Strathcona Tweedsmuir, Alberta, Canada Col.legi Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain Hillel Day School, Detroit (MI) USA St. Martin de Porres, Cleveland (OH) USA Academy of Holy Names i-Lab, Tampa (FL) USA Kenora Catholic, Kenora Ontario Canada Fisher STEAM Middle School, Greenville (SC) USA International School of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium Discovery STEM Academy, Newport News (VA) USA Sinarmas World Academy, Serpong/BSD City, Indonesia Grafflin Elementary School Maker Lab, Chappaqua (NY) USA Crow Island School, Winnetka (IL) USA
Design Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Scott Simmomns Architects Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Fielding International Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Fielding International Architect: Fielding International Designer: David Jakes Design Design Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Grimm + Parker Design Architect: Fielding International Design Architect: Fielding International Architect: Perkins, Wheeler and Will and Eliel and Eero Saarinen Restoration Architect: Perkins&Will
Front Cover Featured School: International School of Kazan, Tartarstan, Russia; Design Architect: Fielding International Back Cover Featured School: Bluestone Elementary School, Harrisonburg (VA) USA; Design Architect: VMDO
Disclaimer All images contained in this publication were produced before the onset of the COVID-19 global health crisis. Fielding International and VS America recommend that all follow local, State and Country issued guidance to mitigate the community transmission of COVID-19.
rnational and VS America
Project Research Team Jill Ackers-Clayton – Senior Learning Designer Jill Ackers has taught and consulted with schools and organizations worldwide to transform various learning ecosystems for the 21st century. As an educator with 20+ years of experience, she brings her passion for constructivist learning, languages, and technology to educators through authentic, relevant learning and professional development. She has consulted for organizations such as the PBL Works (Buck Institute for Education) serving as National Faculty for Eight years, P21, World Leadership School, and Teach Thought. She is the author of Developing Natural Curiosity through Project-Based Learning and Leverage Technology to Enhance PBL. Jill’s work with community-based learning was highlighted in Forbes.com: Preparing The Workforce For The Next Generation. Her teaching career started as an experiential math teacher in the Rocky Mountains. For eight years she worked with her community and the outdoors to bring math to life in middle school. Jill’s passion for learning led her to explore how technology could transform the tools students use to demonstrate what they know and can do with content. She believes physical space and technology should mirror the types of innovative thinking we foster in our learners. She has a Master’s in Educational Leadership, is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, A+ Certification Engineer, and Cisco Certified Network Administrator.
Jay Litman, AIA – Partner & Rhode Island Studio Director Jay J. Litman, AIA, has a deep understanding and appreciation of the educational challenges facing both children and adults within the teaching and learning environment. His 38-years of professional experience has focused primarily on the planning and design of PreK-12 educational facilities; campus planning and design; public and private libraries; and historic rehabilitation. His project background also extends to urban planning, housing and commercial. He is deeply involved in the emerging theories of project-based, collaborative teaching and learning that is reshaping the language of modern school design. His evolution towards a project-based, collaborative educational model grew from his personal interest in the education of hearing impaired children using an “inclusion” model. The emerging theories of the time mandated fundamental changes in the design of the classroom environment such as; learning in smaller groups, working collaboratively on project-based assignments, creating multiple modes of learning within one classroom as well as paying attention to acoustics and lighting. It became immediately apparent that the current 100-year old factory model for public education was highly resistant to change at the most fundamental levels. As a Fielding Partner and Head of the Rhode Island Studio, Jay advocates a workshop driven approach for the design of new schools and community campuses both in the United States and internationally. He has led his teams for new or revitalized schools and campuses in countries such as Switzerland, Russia, Japan, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. Notably, his innovative contributions at The Sinarmas World Academy in Serpong, Indonesia, were recently recognized by CEPFI (A4LE) with an International Award of Distinction.
Jennifer Leyva – Senior Designer: Interiors Jennifer brings more than 15 years of experience designing and planning educational interiors for schools around the world. As a Designer and Educational Planner, Jennifer’s role at Fielding allows her to actively participate in all phases of the design process, including facilitating design and planning workshops, developing Discovery Workbooks and planning materials for clients, producing Interior Design Workbook guides, space planning and programming, and creating 3D renderings and hand sketches for schematic designs. Her talents and passion for creating healthy and engaging learning environments are exemplified in some of Fielding International’s most notable designs, including Col.legi Montserrat in Barcelona, Spain; the Academy of Holy Names in Tampa, Florida; and, at the International School of Kazan in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. Working closely with Fielding’s Design Architects, our in-house Educators, students, and teachers, Jennifer ensures that school interiors function as 21st century educational spaces, allowing for maximum flexibility and variety with furniture selections, and that they are aesthetically inspiring with interior details, lighting, finishes and color selections. Her goal is to help ensure schools provide a safe place for students to be uninhibited creatively, academically, and inspired for a lifetime of learning. Jennifer’s experience includes innovative designs for a wide variety of educational communities in the United States and around the globe, including: Academy of Holy Names (Tampa, FL, USA); P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School (Gainesville, FL, USA); Anne Frank Inspire Academy (San Antonio, TX, USA); Eden Park Elementary School (Cranston, RI, USA); Mt. Vernon Elementary and Early Childhood (Atlanta, GA, USA); International School (Brussels, Belgium); Mavlutova High School (Kazan, Russia); Fedossevskaya Presidents Primary School (Kazan, Russia); American School of Bombay (Mumbai, India); and, Col.legi Montserrat (Barcelona, Spain).
Enrico Giori – Assistant Architectural Designer Enrico Giori is an Italian designer pursuing Bachelor Degrees in Fine Arts and Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, RI, USA. Enrico’s design methodology aims to capitalize on the principles of participatory planning and co-design, which he aims to incorporate in all of his project proposals using a trans-scalar approach. Enrico is currently developing a thesis project at the Rhode Island School of Design that addresses the complex history and future projections of the Italian public education system. In his work, Enrico is blending research and design to devleop innovative solutions for today and tomorrow’s learners. Additionally, Enrico is fascinated by techniques of visual representation, and constantly aims to embrace and critically examine the strong suits and shortcomings of different techniques of architectural drawing and data visualization. In 2019, Enrico was awarded the second prize in the design competition DaM–Giovani Designer per i Musei Italiani, sponsored by MiBAC–Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Siena, Comune di Modena, Giovani d’Arte and GAI–Giovani Artisti Italiani. During the Summer of 2019, Enrico interned with Italian participatory planning organization ABCittà as a RISD Maharam STEAM Fellow. Enrico joined Fielding International’s Rhode Island Studio as an Assistant Architectural Designer during the Summer of 2020, where he developed the visuals for the “COVID-19 Resiliency Project.”
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