Pacific Northwest Region
Pacific Northwest Region

Heroes Within Us

Connecting the Dots – Achieving Success Through Thematic Learning and Career Pathways

Reba Gilman, Founding Principal/CEO, Raisbeck Aviation High School
Daniel Malone, Benson Polytechnic High School, Portland Public Schools
Caroline Lemay, AIA, Principal, Bassetti Architects
Michael McGavock, AIA, Principal, McGranahan Architects

Numerous examples of powerful learning at the secondary level are emerging throughout the United States and the world that focus on thematic learning and career pathways. This session will explore three factors shaping success in these unique learning environments. Using examples from three distinct projects that embody thematic learning and career pathways, we will explore design components, community partnerships, and strategies for inclusion. Each project will be represented by an educator and an architect who will present the ideas that shaped the project and the outcomes that signal success. Following three, 10-minute project overviews, our moderator will facilitate an interactive audience discussion to highlight project challenges and opportunities and the factors that led to success. The three projects:
1. Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS). A 400-student, aviation-themed high school adjacent to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field with extraordinary industry partners who have helped with both project funding and curriculum. RAHS was a 2015 MacConnell finalist with outstanding planning, programming, and design attributes.
2. Science and Math Institute Environmental Learning Center (SAMi). 600 students engage in inquiry-based curriculum focused on the arts, science, math, environmental, and marine studies within Tacoma’s 700-acre Point Defiance Park as their “lens for learning”. Partnerships include the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and Metro Parks Tacoma. SAMi ELC was a 2018 MacConnell Award finalist. 3. Benson Polytechnic High School (BPHS). A 102-year-old school that offers hands-on career technical education within three academies – Arts and Communications, Health Occupations, Industry and Engineering. The 1700-student landmark school is currently undergoing a major redesign to bring the school’s programs into the 21st century through a deep integration of academics and career learning along with robust industry partnerships.

Learning Objectives: 
1. Learn strategies for developing powerful partnerships within your community.

2. Understand how the designs support thematic career-based learning environments.

3. Assess different models and scales of community engagement through varied project examples.

4. Examine strategies for increasing diversity and inclusion within magnet schools.

Innovative Steps On the Path to Net Zero: Delivering High Performance Schools Within Conventional Budgets

Richard Higgins, AIA, Principal, BLRB Archihtects
Elin Shepard, Outreach Manager, CLEAResult
Ruwan Jayaweera, PE Senior Associate, PAE Engineers

What does it take for a motivated school district to achieve higher levels of energy conservation and start on a Path to Net Zero?Prevalent thinking is that a high-performance building costs more on the front end, but equally common is the understanding that such a system will save energy and reduce long-term operational costs. Reynolds School District saw their new schools as opportunities to create innovative and meaningful, long-life schools for the neighborhoods and communities they serve. With strong District leadership, creative planners, advisors, and designers came together with the Energy Trust of Oregon to explore options and create a balanced budget that achieved both educational and energy performance goals. Leaving no stone unturned, their committed efforts balanced the tight budget by comparing costs and weighing trade-offs in building components. Key design drivers to be discussed are from a planning, budgeting, architectural design and sustainability point of view and include cost-effective eco-design, educational planning, system evaluation strategies and leveraging valuable partnerships.

Learning Objectives:
1. Examine how thinking about energy in new ways can elevate the final design, and create the path to a Net Zero building.

2. Learn how Energy Trust of Oregon (ETO) supports building owners and their project teams with enhanced cash incentives and technical assistance.

3. Explore classroom design solutions that create learning opportunities and provide sustainable control of the learning environment.

4. Take a closer look at the basic science of how high-performance building enclosure and natural ventilation can create an efficient and effective learning environment.

Community by Design: An Examination of School Design for Social Justice and Inclusion

Alyssa Leeviraphan, AIA, LEED AP, Associate, Principal Mahlum Architects
Bryan Hollar, Project Architect, Mahlum Architects
Carol Campbell, Principal of Grant High School, Portland Public Schools
Madyson Roach, Student at Grant High School

For this $158 million, 293,000 square foot, 1,800 student modernization of a 1920s school on the National Historic Register set within Grant Park, Portland Public Schools and hero of the project, Principal Carol Campbell, held a highly successful year-long public engagement process that critically uncovered how students were experiencing social injustices that persisted solely because of the building’s architecture and organization, despite the school’s progressive commitment to equity. As a case study, Grant High School’s redesign offers a study in how learning environments can intentionally address legacies of disadvantage through design; and how, by designing for all, Grant has realized a more physical, racial, socioeconomic and gender-inclusive community in which all students feel welcome, accepted, and connected. This presentation will openly examine the project and the project outcomes through the broad lens of the heroic voices who shed light on existing inequities and opportunities; including the District, school administration, and students living in the project day to day; as well as the designers who envisioned bold spatial solutions to overcome them. Through examination of the design process and analysis of specific design features at Grant High School such as all-access, inclusive restrooms; fluid internal connectivity between levels; excavating five disconnected, fully submerged basements; healing the relationship to Grant Park; and marrying yesterday’s historical character with tomorrow’s best-practice teaching spaces, session participants will gain an understanding of ways in which space can impact social justice to support a positive student community and uplift the next generation through the power of architecture.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will develop an understanding of how stakeholder concerns and values can be translated into design strategies.

2. Attendees will be able to define ways that building design can address inequity.

3. Attendees will gain an understanding of the design strategies that enhance social interaction and build community among a user population.

4. Attendees will be able to evaluate opportunities and constraints associated with the modernization of a historic building for contemporary uses.

Promoting Emotional and Neurological Connections to Nature

Julie Mueller, Principal, Lacamas Lake Elementary, Camas School District
Rene Berndt, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal, Mahlum Architects
TBD, 5th Grade Student, Lacamas Lake Elementary
TBD, 5th Grade Student, Lacamas Lake Elementary
Ten years ago, the author of “Last Child in the Woods” warned us that the lack of firsthand engagement with our natural environment will result in a lack of genuine concern and sustained care for our natural environmental. Past generation leaders in the environmental protection movement had one thing in common: the desire to protect what was grounded in their love of nature which developed during a childhood full of rich nature play. Today, childhood memories are mostly formed inside a digital world with virtual stimulation and little or no exposure to nature. This lack of experience makes “environmental concern” an abstract often fear-based exercise where children “care deeply” about the environment of polar ice bears, species in the rainforest, and islands in the pacific threatened by rising sea levels, without any comprehension of what natural wonders await in the forest or empty lot nearby. The young heroes of Lacamas Lake Elementary School made it very clear that they loved nature and wanted to continue to run amongst the trees, collect leaves, and observe wildlife after their 1960‘s open school campus would be replaced by a new, more secure building. Hero Principal, Julie Mueller, advocated throughout the design for a learning environment that functions and feels like a ”country school“. Enabling young learners to experience the richness of nature play, complexity of eco systems, and the calming effect of collecting leaves or bird watching was an objective that was enforced throughout the educational specification and design process. Not only are educators inspired to allow the seasons to inform the curriculum, but the interior material palette mirrors the calming qualities of nature so that learners experience a fluid environment with many degrees of “indoor-ness” and “outdoor-ness”. Fifth grade students will walk us through the 40-acre learning environment that is the new Lacamas Lake Elementary School for Camas School District.

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will hear from students about the desire for emotional connections to nature.

2. Attendees will be able to formulate design aspirations around nature connections.

3. Attendees will be able to develop design strategies that achieve connections to nature.

4. Attendees will be able to apply tools to evaluate the level of emotional connections.

Centering Equity in the Engagement Process and Design

Kim Patten, Facilities & Transportation Director, Corvallis School District
Ryan Noss, Superintendent, Corvallis School District
Melanie Quaempts, Ed.D., Director of Educational Planning, Wenaha Group
Karen Montovino, AIA, ALEP, Principal, DLR Group

How do you build two new elementary schools in a two very different communities which provide equitable facilities and meet the unique needs of each neighborhood? The passage of Corvallis School District’s $200M bond in 2018 provided the district an opportunity to not only transform their aging infrastructure, but to also develop more innovative and equitable environments for all. The district empowered Design Advisory Committees (DAC’s) and identified a core team to work closely with the Owner’s Rep and Design Team, supporting the creation of inclusive and adaptable education spaces which reflects the diverse population of Corvallis.

Learning Objectives:
1. Importance of setting guiding principles and how that shapes the subsequent master plans and design.

2. How equity can be infused in the planning process.

3. How equity influences design and program of spaces while maintaining a consistent educational experience across multiple schools.

4. How to establish equity training and protocols for the district, project management and design professionals.

Creating Equity for an Underserved Population: Olympic High School’s Cinderella Story

Gladys Ly Au Young, Principal, Sundberg Kennedy Ly Au Young Architects
Brandon Brown, Teacher, Olympic High School
Doug Newell, Assistant Superintendent, Finance and Support, Central Kitsap School District
Kelly Tanner, Educational Planner, BrainSpaces

Olympic High School (Oly) was originally built over 40 years ago and serves a population with a higher number of minorities and low-income students than other high schools in the district. Not only did all the HVAC and electrical systems need replacement, but spatial requirements for learning have changed significantly since the facility had been built in 1979. Schools are now expected to be environments that support active learning, social-emotional learning (SEL), and the physical and mental well-being of their students. The built environment didn’t reflect the environment that the staff and school community were building, and there was a feeling at Oly that the school was failing both the students and the faculty. The school bond passed narrowly and there were improvement needed at all levels of the district’s aging building inventory, unfortunately much of the scope of work needed for Oly was not on the capital project list. Through an activist effort by teachers and staffs, teaming with creative district leadership who understood the special dynamic present at the High School, Oly began a journey of co-creation to develop a place that reflects student centered learning, where students can take ownership, “stand up straight” and feel proud of their school and themselves. This presentation will look at the sequence of events that went from no project and no money to a $53m, 92,500 sf (41m MACC) reimagined heart of the campus. The story is told from the perspective of a teacher, an assistant superintendent, the educational planner and the architect and will describe how the community and design team built consensus and created a shared vision for Olympic High School that resulted in an award winning project.

Learning Objectives:
1. Look at ways that teachers, staff and students can effectively advocate for their schools and communities.

2. How designers and planners can harness the energy and excitement of diverse voices into creative learning environment planning and processes – identifying community and stakeholder engagement through activities that build partnerships and ownership of building design, identity and educational philosophies.

3. Listen compassionately and balancing needs of the individual schools with the resources of the school district.

4. Understand how designers can create a framework for a building expansion that can help planning in the short term as well as the long term: the benefits of designing on an axis.

The Space Between: Exploring the Impact of the Physical Schoolhouse on Student Well-being

Tammy Fisher, Ph.D., School Counselor, St. Thomas School
Mo Copeland, Head of School, Oregon Episcopal School
Stefee Knudsen, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal, Hacker
This session will discuss the psychological impacts of social and cultural connectedness in children, and how the school physical environment is a critical factor in creating that feeling of belonging. Specifically, focus will be placed on the impact of arrival and intermediate “in between” or circulation spaces on students’ emotional and social health in conventional designs, as well as the academic and cultural opportunities to evolve these spaces. This directly impacts student health and welfare, and there is growing evidence that there is a significant correlation with school safety as well.

Learning Objectives:
1. Examine the psychological impacts to students who feel unsafe for whom traditional classrooms alone are not sufficient to support their social and emotional needs and learning styles.

2. Understand national statistics which show how early intervention and increasing school connectiveness increases school safety.

3. Understand principles of design for creating or adapting “in between” spaces to support a multitude of needs at all grade levels and for different social and emotional outcomes.

4. Learn how applying intentional design strategies to space that is typically reserved for circulation can maximize the programmatic effectiveness of the space you have, while also fostering community and a sense of belonging that is inclusive to all learners.

The Heroic Role of Progressive Design-Build: A Look at Tacoma Public Schools

Heather Hocklander, AIA, NCARB, LEED BC+C, Associate Principal, Architect, BCRA
Arron Wilkins, Principal, Boze Elementary School, Tacoma Public Schools
Alicia Lawver, APR, Strategic Planning & Policy Manager, Tacoma Public Schools

For Tacoma Public Schools, the end of their bond cycle facilitated new thinking. They explored Progressive Design-Build as a delivery method for the first time in 2018 with the replacement of Boze Elementary School (under construction). Multiple successes for the district and community during the process led to a paradigm shift and a second Progressive Design-Build project, this time the replacement of Hunt Middle School. With insights from Tacoma Public Schools staff, the Boze Elementary Principal, and Design-Build team members on these two projects, discover ways in which Progressive Design-Build can deliver heroic results for districts related to cost, design, and inclusive partnerships long before the facility opens.

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn how the Progressive Design-Build process can maximize MWBE inclusion strategies through authentic partnerships.

2. Learn how the Progressive Design-Build process can address the needs of a school community and create meaningful ties between a district and a neighborhood.

3. Learn how Design-Build maximizes value in order to elevate a school’s learning environment and create a true community asset.

4. Learn different ways the Progressive Design-Build process can support opportunities for advocacy in programming, design, and community outreach.

Heather Hocklander, AIA, NCARB, LEED BC+C, Associate Principal, Architect, BCRA
Heather is known for helping school districts solve problems through intelligent design. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture, as well as 19 years of experience. As BCRA’s Education market lead, Heather brings unique insights as both a school architect and someone with years of Design-Build experience from military projects. Heather has been involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity and is a long-time member of A4LE.

Arron Wilkins, Principal, Boze Elementary School, Tacoma Public Schools
Arron serves as principal of Boze Elementary School and is a graduate of Tacoma Public Schools. He believes teaching and learning are essential to living a life full of wonder and joy. Mr. Wilkins received his Bachelor of Arts in Education from Western Washington University, Master of Education from Lesley University, Educational Leadership Certificate from Seattle Pacific University, and Administrative Professional Certification from Pacific Lutheran University.

Alicia Lawver, APR, Strategic Planning & Policy Manager, Tacoma Public Schools
Alicia manages Tacoma Public Schools’ Community Inclusion Program, which puts into action the district’s commitment to supporting local businesses, inclusivity, and career paths for young adults. Alicia has 20 years’ experience as a professional communicator, problem-solver, and community connector. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a bachelor’s degree in communication, has her Accreditation in Public Relations, and is working on her MBA.

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

Association Days

July 22-23, 2021

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