SESSION

A Tale of Three Projects: Storytelling as Adaptive Optimism in Educational Design

A4E Partner and Design Principal Olivia Graf Doyle will moderate a panel discussion exploring positive innovations currently springing from disruptive forces. Olivia will provide concrete examples of how this disruption has led to innovation in recent projects and showcase storytelling as a powerful tool for using disruption as an advantage and a catalyst for change. Three A4E case study projects, including A4LE award-winning Rio del Sol K-8 STEAM School, will engage the theme of optimistic disruption/innovation at the intersection of learning/place. Concrete examples include diverse educational spaces: a community education center disrupting the status quo of the traditional classroom to intersect distance learning and adaptable, future-ready collaborative spaces; a new school gym and fitness center catalyzing empowerment of at-risk youth; and a new K-8 STEAM school utilizing the disruption of phased construction to adapt curriculum and space. Powerful design concepts distilled from storytelling include connecting the local community with its geographical history, identifying wellness as both a theme-driven and physical space, and activating environmental stewardship through biophilic design and ancestral culture. Selected as subject matter experts for their roles as educational leaders, stakeholders and end-users of A4E case study projects, panelists will include: Larry Cecil, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, El Monte Unified High School District Community Education Center; Freddy Arteaga, Principal, Fernando R. Ledesma High School; and Dr. Ralph A. Cordova, Principal, Rio del Sol K-8 STEAM School. This panel discussion investigates the overarching question facing end-users of featured A4E case study projects: “how is your space designed to optimistically adapt to disruptive forces and what are the results?” Session participants will benefit from the real-time responses of these expert panelists and experienced moderator, and also from short video clips that give voice to the students adapting with optimism to this intersection of innovation and disruption firsthand.

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn from case study educational design project examples how to utilize themed design concepts to create architectural spaces that tell the story of design for change.
2. Identify strategies from case study examples for building resilience into spaces with spatial characteristics that both school districts and AEC firms can utilize.
3. Learn best practices for adapting positively to disruption from real-world case study catalysts and results, and a dynamic discussion between subject matter educator experts.
4. Define examples of future-ready design from the three diverse types of case studies presented (K-8, high school, distance learning, renovation, new construction on an existing campus, and a newly built A4LE award-winning STEAM school).

Olivia Graf Doyle, Partner, Design Principal, Architecture for Education (A4E)
Olivia is a Partner and the Design Principal for A4E, a women-owned design firm that specializes in education architecture. Balancing aesthetics and curriculum-based innovations, she leads outstanding projects that begin with a clear concept rooted in storytelling. Olivia frequently speaks at education-focused conferences and serves on the Leadership Group of the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Architecture for Education, with recent research on spatial well-being in Learning by Design’s 2020 Fall Issue.

Freddy Arteaga, Principal, Fernando R. Ledesma High School
Freddy, Principal of Fernando R. Ledesma High School (FRLHS) in El Monte Union High School District (EMUHSD), has had the honor of serving the high school for the last twenty years as teacher, counselor, and now principal. Freddy has been pivotal to developing the school’s mission to provide students with a personalized alternative education program in a safe, caring environment that focuses on state and district instructional standards, enabling students to develop into successful, productive citizens. Under Freddy’s leadership, FRLHS is celebrating Model School status for the third time.

Ralph A. Cordova, Dr., Principal, Rio del Sol K-8 STEAM School
Before his current role as Principal of Rio del Sol K-8 STEAM School, Dr. Cordova earned his teaching credential in 1993 at the University of California Santa Barbara and taught for fourteen years at La Patera School in the Goleta Union School District in grades K, 2, 3 and 4. He completed his Master’s and PhD at the University of California Santa Barbara. Dr. Cordova is also a trained educational ethnographer with numerous peer-reviewed publications. 

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

LearningSCAPES 2021


October 14-17
Hyatt Regency | Denver, CO