The design and use of educational facilities represent an area that today's Superintendent/CEO needs to be well versed in. The objective of this course is to prepare candidates to both understand the current issues in this area and meet the responsibilities that go along with it.
Major Topics in Educational Change and Design of Facilities
- Long Range Facility Planning – Understand the process of building the five key planning documents for long range facility planning – Educational Facilities Master Plan, Capital Improvement Plan, Maintenance Plan, Energy and Environmental Management Plan, Facilities Safety and Emergency Operations Plan. Evaluate the degree to which a school facility has the capacity to satisfy each of the twenty modalities of learning. Know and understand Thornburg’s four primordial learning metaphors of campfire, watering hole, cave, and life as key elements of well-designed educational space.
- Procurement and Construction Fundamentals – Know and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the various construction delivery methods available to Texas school districts. Know facilities construction standards and compliance regulations.
- Efficient School Facility Operation – Understand how key environmental factors of thermal comfort and air quality, lighting and acoustics affect the learning environment.
- Maintenance and Operations Best Practices – Understand the fundamentals to maintenance planning, strategy, and coordination; facility audits, data collection and how to conduct audits; facility safety concerns and how to identify environmental and safety related issues that demand attention; maintenance evaluation; staff and contractor management; and scheduling. Know the recognized professional standards of facilities practices.
- Integrated Learning Areas – Understand concepts of scale, variety and flexibility of space, and informal learning areas as they pertain to spatial organization. Understand the concept of small learning communities (SLC), how they are designed and their implications for the use of school facility space. Identify the essential qualities of good lab space. Analyze different means of improving the cost-effectiveness of labs. Understand and apply ideas for alternative spaces. Explore criticism of a decentralized, student-centered approach to learning with the understanding that “one size does not fit all”.
- Professional Space for Teachers - Understand the value of privacy, a home base and individual storage as elements of personalization that are important to satisfying the needs of individuals in schools. Analyze different strategies and approaches to grouping staff to encourage collaboration. Consider and evaluate the efficacy of different elements of design in collaborative spaces. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of traditional spaces like faculty lounges.
- The Changing Role of the School Library – Know the standards, guidelines, and best practices for libraries in Texas; analyze the makerspace model as a practical option for school library space or alternative learning spaces; develop and assess processes for determining school library use; identify a set of guiding principles for school library services; assess the advantages and disadvantages of various library renovation and refit strategies including decentralization, digital only collections, upgrading existing services, and activity center transformation.
- Outdoor School Spaces – Understand and assess various options and methods related to outdoor learning and their practical applicability; assess and consider processes for determining the development of outdoor learning spaces.
- Redesigning Schools for Student Centered Learning in Practice – Know how to evaluate a school facility in terms of its suitability to a student-centered, team taught educational program. Know the design elements that define educational effectiveness. Understand the critical questions that need to be asked to establish the functional integration of technology in facility design. Understand the importance of a welcoming school entrance area, the potential for school commons as a meeting point with the community and general socialization; and how lighting, acoustics seating, signage, signature, display, and technology create a positive environment in the general entranceway.
Course Credits: 4