The Physical Environment Matters

This year we opened up a new building, thus expanding our campus to across the street. With 2400 students, we were at capacity and had the opportunity to do something creative to provide more space for our students and at the same time meet the needs of today’s learner.

With the vision of former Superintendent Gregg Morris and current Superintendent Mark White, along with a team of curriculum coordinators, business directors, and highly qualified teachers, we built Clark Hall. Clark Hall is a 51,000 square foot, three story work of art. It doesn’t resemble a typical American high school at all, but rather an innovative office building. The goal was to create an open, modern, bright space that evokes creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and fun. It houses fourteen classrooms, each with its’ own conference room, high powered wireless, natural light, laptops for every student, and collaborative spaces in hallways so students are able to utilize the entire space for learning. Instead of taking my word for it, why not check it out for yourself?

With flexibility built into the daily schedule, teachers have more time to interact with students on an individual basis, students feel more relaxed and are more compelled to engage in the learning process, and collaboration among students just seems natural. The students have taken to the building like fish to water!

Clark Hall has inspired change on our main campus as well. One of the main hubs of most schools and universities now is the library. We wanted our library to have the same feel as Clark Hall so our Librarian, Ann Gleek, dreamt big and made some significant changes!  From removing some of the book shelves to painting the walls to changing some of the furniture, changes have made for a more inviting environment for students and have been a huge hit thus far. Take a look.

 What’s the point? It’s simple: educational reform must include reforming or transforming the physical learning environment. According to Daniel Pink, design is one of the elements of the right brain that we must tap into. We have to look differently at the space we have now and spruce things up… a lot… for the sake of learning.

Be Great,