Transforming the Learning Environment

Facilitating Personalized Learning for Every Student While Building the Next Education Workforce

AIA Continuing Education Provider

1 LU

How can we create a school environment that is able to respond to real world crises; meeting needs and supporting the well-being of all occupants? How can we create schools where students learn in deeper and more personalized ways? How can we rethink our design to build and support the Next Education Workforce? The COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it caused has accelerated the need to reimagine our schools as places where students’ individual social-emotional wellness and academic needs are met and where educators are not required to be all things to all people at all times. In this session hear how Mesa Public Schools in Mesa, AZ redesigned their instructional pedagogy and school environment by building teams of educators and multi-age learning communities throughout the district to increase opportunities for meeting the needs of their students and staff. See the before and after of Whittier and Whitman Elementary Schools and how they reimagined and redesigned spaces to support this approach. Finally, hear the results of a research project by John Hopkins Institute for Education Policy assessing the early impact of this structure on both students and educators.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the benefits of employing teams of distributed expertise to positively impact student’s social emotional well- being and academic development and success.
  2. Hear how district and school leadership brought staff, community and students into the process, embracing desired instructional shifts and moving towards personalized learning and empowerment.
  3. Expand thinking about designing spaces for multi-age learning communities within the constraints of existing built environments.
  4. Discover how this approach can help schools address staff recruitment and retention challenges by empowering educators and developing better ways to enter the profession, specialize and advance.
Holly Williams
Holly Williams
Associate Superintendent, Mesa Public Schools 

Holly is the Associate Superintendent for Mesa Public School in Mesa, AZ. She began her career as a high school English teacher and Dean of Students in the Chandler Unified School District. Holly has been with Mesa Public Schools for 23 years initially serving as an Assistant Principal and High School Principal. As a district-level leader, Holly has been the Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, an Area Assistant Superintendent, and the Chief of Staff.

Patti Clark, M.S. Ed.
Patti Clark, M.S. Ed.
Chief Academic Officer, Lakeshore

Patti has 30 years of experience in education, and spent the first decade of her career teaching in classrooms, along with coaching and training teachers. Today, Patti is Chief Academic Officer at Lakeshore Learning Materials. In this role, Patti works closely with Lakeshore’s Research, Design & Development team to ensure classroom environments and learning materials are designed with focused intent to support the pedagogical goals and needs of educators and children.

Track: Response

This track addresses the Response to real-world events and experiences that impact our daily life and our ability to function normally and be productive. The response to these occurrences is reflected in the learning environments we create and leads to the question – how can schools respond to real-world crises in a way that supports the well-being of occupants and our students' learning journey? How do we respond with approaches and strategies that may be used to balance the inability and lack of needed financial resources to address deficiencies within our learning environments’ infrastructure? Topics expand on the Art approach to the theme, but also include Science in the form of findings and outcomes through case studies and examples of successful responses to real-world conditions and events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, declining student enrollment, economics, equity, and other topics.

Primary Core Competency
Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educational leadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

LearningSCAPES 2023

October 12-15 | Hilton Chicago

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