Over the past year of learning and teaching from home, it has become exceedingly apparent how little has changed since the inception of the modern education system in the late 19th century. How can we harness the challenges and opportunities of today’s historic inflection point to positively disrupt American education in the long-term? How do we scale solutions and make them accessible for all? How can we influence education to prepare students for the ever-evolving workforce? This session aims to discover solutions to these big questions through a two-pronged community engagement approach. As the first part of this approach, our team will facilitate a think tank prior to the conference. Through a process of discovery including surveys, curated roundtable discussions, and Q&A with experts, we will solicit input from a wide variety of stakeholders including students, parents, educators, administrators, education experts, and designers across public, private, charter, vocational, and progressive education. The think tank will explore the history of the modern education system to understand what the barriers to change have been, then study the predictions for what life will be like in 2070 to inform where we are going. Topics of discussion will include the rise of A.I., removing complex external factors that limit change, shifts in the academic calendar, increased anxiety in young people, and future implications of blended learning as children become increasingly sophisticated digital learners. Our panelists, an educational strategist and researcher, progressive educator, and architect specializing in K-12 design, will analyze the feedback gathered throughout the think tank and synthesize key takeaways and proposed solutions for presentation at the conference. After this presentation, the panel will engage the audience around these topics to further the conversation. Through this crowdsourced approach, we hope to craft discourse, and ultimately scalable solutions for the future of American education.
Matthew McChesney, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, Partner, KSS Architects
Matt is a powerful force and trusted advisor within the K-12 community, helping to build community and achieve pedagogical goals, thereby empowering students to succeed and neighborhoods to flourish. Clients know Matt for his ability to listen to their needs, understand their values, and create spaces that maximize their potential. His work for leading education clients has contributed to the design and renovation of dozens of charter schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York
Beth Emig, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Associate, KSS Architects
Beth is passionate about designing environments to support student engagement and success with a diverse range of experience on a variety of project types for Higher Education and K-12 clients, with a specialty in designing for students with Special Needs. Beth’s ability to work collaboratively with clients to understand their needs and the hidden design potential in the challenges they face. Beth volunteers her time with Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative and has served as a part-time adjunct instructor at Temple University teaching architecture students the fundamentals of digital media.