Designing for the Next Generation of Student Learning to Prepare Them for the World

1:00 PM
 2:00 PM



This session will profile how local business and industry inspired the design of the new Upper Merion Area High School (UMAHS) in King of Prussia, a suburb of Philadelphia. Speakers will include the Superintendent of Schools and the architectural firm SCHRADERGROUP to discuss the educational limitations of the existing traditional high school designed in the 1960s as compared to the design of the new high school. The panel will discuss how simulating the college and work environment at the high school level will prepare UMASD students as they transition to higher education and the work environment. The new facility will provide higher education level spaces to engage in interactive learning activities of research, develop and present. Hi-tech industry workspaces; a core curriculum academic wing, with a STEAM-based central core, is connected by 3-story learning stairs; and multi-project and team-based spaces integrated throughout the school offer collaborative and research-based learning opportunities in flexible spaces to compliment how different students learn. A student commons, at the heart of the facility, will be used as a multi-activity space. The two-story commons, with learning resources located on the second level, is mixed-use space with dining/café opportunities like in colleges and universities. The case study of UMAHS offers further opportunities to students at the secondary level, grades 6-12. The high school was deliberately designed to provide a physical connection to the existing 6-8 middle school to stimulate the opportunities inherent within a “secondary campus.” The direct access to the high school provides the opportunity for middle school students to take courses relevant to their interests across the grade structures as opposed to within their grade and age-specific learning spaces, and to take advantage of the athletic venues to improve wellness and promote physical activity.

#1: Learn about the next generation of secondary school design which can offer flexibility across grade levels for advanced course offerings and opportunities not afforded in a traditional post-industrial building design.
#2: Engage with educators and students to discuss the advantages of centralized interdisciplinary teaching spaces that offer cross-curriculum opportunities around a STEAM model.
#3: Engage with business leaders who incorporate the same types of work environments that promote collaboration and project-based business models and the importance of providing learning environments that replicate those real-world experiences to help students better prepare for the future.
#4: Engage with the professionals on how to apply next generation learning environments within the limits of the traditional post-industrial school building design.

Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Educational Visioning: Exhibits an understanding of best and next practices related to educationalleadership, programming, teaching, learning, planning and facility design. Establishes credibility with educators, community members and design professionals while conceiving and leading a community-based visioning process. Demonstrates the ability to articulate the impact of learning environments on teaching and learning and uses that ability to facilitate a dialogue that uncovers the unique needs and long-range goals of an educational institution and its stakeholders – translating that into an actionable written/graphic program of requirements for the design practitioner.

David Schrader, AIA, LEED AP, Managing Partner and Lead Educational Programmer, Planner and Designer, SCHRADERGROUP architecture LLC
For over two decades, the professional experience of Mr. Schrader has been focused on the design of educational facilities. Mr. Schrader acts as Principal in Charge and leads the design team throughout project duration to develop and execute design solutions that achieve all client goals. His ability to create a vision with his clients has fostered significant success for all involved including the client, the design team and the public-at-large.

John Toleno, EdD, Superintendent of Schools, Upper Merion Area School District
Dr. Toleno is the Superintendent of the Upper Merion Area School District in suburban Philadelphia. Dr. Toleno’s School District had currently designed a new high school facility with SCHRADERGROUP. The soon-to-be-built facility will provide career and higher education level spaces for the students to engage in the 21st century learning activities of; research, develop and present! Hi-tech industry workspaces, as well as contemporary higher education spaces, were designed as part of this unique facility. 

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



+1 480.391.0840
11445 E. Via Linda, Ste 2-440
Scottsdale, Arizona 85259 USA