In the last segment, we wrote about how schools are typically designed around a gathering space. Better known as the Commons, these spaces are the central hub that organizes the rest of the building. The layout of any building is important for a number of reasons, and the new Perham High School is no different.
There are a number of different areas that stem off of the Commons, such as the academic wing, fine arts suites, gymnasium and locker rooms, and administration wing. Each of the spaces are thoughtfully placed for easy access by students, staff, and community members.
The new high school was designed for collaborative, interdisciplinary delivery of curriculum, called a Professional Learning Community (PLC) model. In this model, collaborative departments will be located in close proximity to encourage cross-curricular teaching. Students can gain a deeper understanding of subject matter when they have a solid foundation that can then be used to generalize other knowledge.
Two PLCs will be featured in the academic wing with one on each floor. The first floor will host the STEM Division, which includes Math, Science, and Engineering, while the second floor will host Humanities Division with Language Arts, Social Sciences, and World Languages. Each PLC features a similar layout with classrooms, labs, and support instructional space for students and faculty. Support spaces include faculty planning, small group instruction, and large group instruction.
There are many instances where a deeper knowledge of a subject lends itself to easier understanding of another. For instance, science and math teachers can collaborate on learning how to calculate motion in a physics lab. By taking a team teaching approach, educators combine resources to reinforce similar learning in different contexts that students can use to generalize their learning.
The PLC model encourages a culture of collaboration rather than isolation. To better encourage this collaborative model, teachers do not own their own classrooms. They will have a staff resource space in which each faculty member will have their own office area. By placing instructors and para-educators in the same resource area, the PLC model supports creativity, teamwork, and cooperation alongside peers.
This model also promotes efficiency and flexibility within the academic spaces. The building can be better utilized when classrooms are occupied more frequently, which also allows for growth. The various sizes and spaces available have different flexible seating options to encourage educators to individualize learning for students with different learning personalities. The spaces could be adapted to suit different learning activities, such as hands-on, teamwork, individual, and one-on-one opportunities.
Each of the spaces within the academic wing are light and bright, while also being warm and inviting. This is the space in which students and faculty will be spending the majority of their time, so they wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t feel like an institution. It is a place they will want to be, which promotes deeper engagement in learning activities.
With windows surrounding the exterior of the building, a steady stream of natural daylight will flood into classrooms throughout the day. There are sensors in each of the spaces that can tell how much natural light is coming in, and then the lights will be adjusted accordingly. There are also occupancy sensors that will turn off lights if it senses that the room is empty.
Stay tuned for the next segment of Meet Your New Perham High School!