Supporting Students to Thrive

AIA Continuing Education Provider

1 LU / HSW

Students cannot thrive while struggling with social, emotional, behavioral and mental health issues. Our recent research shows that 1 in 10 students have a mental health issue serious enough to impair their functioning at school and home, ranging from depression and anxiety to fighting and violent behavior. This is double the number of students from pre-pandemic times, when mental health issues were already on the rise. the most common forms of mental health issues are anxiety disorders, ADHD, Autism-Spectrum Disorder, eating disorders and mood disorders. There is also evidence of disproportionate effects on students based on demographic factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability status, and sexual orientation. What are the solutions and strategies engaged by school districts? We will be sharing how schools are providing social-emotional and mental and behavioral health support that have supported students’ academic achievements. There is also growing evidence that physical environments have an effect on mental wellbeing. Because our young people spend so much time in school environments, schools have an outsized impact on mental development. Many schools are already providing students with access to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, which offer a continuum of evidence-based prevention practices, but existing school buildings are seldom designed to best support these efforts. We will share how learning environments can support multi-tiered systems and best practice strategies to help students be more resilient and thrive academically.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn what are the mental health challenges faced by PK-12 students.
  2. Learn how demographic factors affect the presence of student mental health issues.
  3. Learn the some of the solutions and strategies engaged by school districts to support student mental health.
  4. Learn best practices by school districts in helping students be more resilient and thrive academically.
Melissa McFadgen, AIA
Melissa McFadgen, AIA
Principal, NAC

Melissa is an Education Thought Leader for NAC Architecture. For the last 23 years she has focused on actively listening to all voices within the community and incorporating those into the design of educational facilities. Her desire to create lasting environments where the entire child and family can thrive has resulted in working across the country and speaking internationally on educational design.

Philip Riedel, AIA, ALEP
Philip Riedel, AIA, ALEP
Principal, NAC

Philip is the PK-12 Practice Leader for NAC Architecture and the Pacific Northwest Region Director on the A4LE International Board of Directors. Throughout his 25-year career in designing educational facilities, Philip has focused on aligning developments in education with facility design. He is passionate about developing places of learning to accommodate the entire range of students’ needs. He is the co-author of Designing for Special Education: Best Practices for Special Needs Learning Facilities and has presented nationally on using research to support student-centered design of learning environments.

Track: Resiliency

This track focuses on Resiliency and addresses how learning environments support the development of students and communities that have the strength and flexibility to withstand adversity and adapt to change. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the essential role that schools have in stabilizing communities during a time of crisis. How do schools support the development of strong community culture among teachers and students? How do schools foster physical and mental health and wellness to ensure all are ready and supported to learn? How do we create learning environments that are strong in intent yet adaptable to change? How do we learn from what does not work and further, learn to take risks daily to expand our comfort zone? What can we learn from research and our responses to past events to inform how to build toward a resilient future where we can withstand what crises and challenges the future brings? Topic areas, seen through the lenses of both Art and Science, include sustainability, physical and mental health, community, school climate and culture, safety, and security.

Primary Core Competency
Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

LearningSCAPES 2023

October 12-15 | Hilton Chicago

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