Get Academic ROI on Your Facilities


Scott Layne
Dallas ISD

Jill Galloway

Irene Nigaglioni

Shannon Buerk

LU: 1

Learning Units

How applies to HSW:

The process utilizes the LEARN© Rubric Design Principles which are based on desired behaviors for the learning environment. They guide the organization of classroom space, furniture needs, grouping options and other planning considerations for the microenvironment. These principles are used by decision-makers to plan environments and used by facilitators and learners to configure space.


Educators, learners, parents, and communities are continually chasing the dream of an ideal learning experience; an experience in which learners realize potential and emerge from school fully prepared to accomplish their highest hopes. Dallas ISD is working to make this dream a reality for their learners. The district partnered with engage2learn and PBK architects to reimagine the learning experience in Dallas ISD and actualize their vision through a long range technology and facilities plan. The project, aptly named by the district as ‘Envision Dallas ISD’, focused on encouraging community wide participation and communication to define a clear, shared belief about learning, developing a mission informed by new contexts for learning, creating a culture of student-centered learning, focusing on the highest effective use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, and ultimately connecting learning to the real world to better prepare learners for success. When districts commit to a large investment in their learning environments, they want to make sure their dollars are in the right place. To achieve the goal of an intentional, specific and strategic plan for the district and guarantee a return on investment in the district’s technology and facilities upgrades, e2L facilitated a three-phase process known as Learning Environment Design (LED©). The process began with a community engagement phase to develop a collaboratively-determined local vision for learning. This was accomplished through a variety of community outreach opportunities, where members from all district stakeholder groups came together to define the desired learning experience for the Dallas ISD community. The community engagement phase provided a critical foundation for all future decisions to be filtered through in order to maintain alignment to the central vision for learning. In phase two, a design team of Dallas ISD internal and external stakeholders analyzed the community input from phase one to develop a framework of the learning experience. A Dallas ISD student participating on the design team named this learning framework Dallas ISD Learning by Design. Next, the team used the engage2learn Learning Environment Assessment of Readiness & Needs (LEARN©) rubric to identify design principles for the classrooms. The framework and design principles were used to create the long range technology plan and informed the development of the long range facilities plan. During the last phase of work, members of an assessment team, comprised of an e2L facilitator and both district and campus administrators, utilized the LEARN© rubric to assess each campus’ ability to effectively support the behaviors defined in the learning framework. Specific needs were identified and aggregated to determine the most common needs by campus. All of the information gathered was consolidated into a master list of opportunities to improve the campus over the long term. The LEARN© rubric became the standard moving forward for decisions related to the learning environment to ensure all district initiatives and decisions were aligned to this framework for maximum impact. As the facilities assessment was completed, PBK architects led campus administration through a design process where new programming and facility modifications based on programming changes were designed into the current facility. This collaborative process allowed the campus leaders to understand and contribute to the possibilities for the long-range plan for that particular campus. All of these program modifications, LEARN© rubric assessment recommendations and life-cycle needs have been compiled into a master list of opportunities for the district to consider to improve each campus over the long-term. Several school districts have already benefited from the LED© process. In Fort Worth ISD, the community focused heavily on college and career readiness and as a result, the learning environment and learning framework were designed to cater to preparing students according to local job projections. The district has an 85.2% graduation rate and the goal is to increase that number significantly. They are continuing to work to increase certifications and career opportunities for graduates. In Alamo Heights the district has increased teacher retention, providing greater stability for students in the district. The design solution in El Paso ISD increased student engagement and standardized test scores. Mesquite ISD saw an improvement in readers on grade level from 78% to 87%. The process in Corpus Christi ISD resulted in 2 chronically underperforming campuses increasing significantly in rank in the state. The LED© process increases student engagement by providing an innovative, active learning environment that supports the learning experience needed to keep students both interested and successful in school. The local, collaborative vision and design addresses the needs of each individual district. The learning experience drives the design of the learning environment and the result is a collaboratively-designed, focused, and aligned structure for teaching and learning that is completely unique to each district. Through innovative furniture, careful technology planning, and thorough analysis of current facilities, every space is put to its highest effective use and every district dollar is a dollar towards the vision for ideal learning. Using this proven design process, educators are able to see reduced behavioral referrals as a result of aligned learning environments and instruction, along with an increase in standardized test scores and an overall improvement in critical skills. These results correlate to having a collaborative and student-oriented learning experience for the modern learning environment. Educators are able to differentiate student learning more effectively for better student outcomes as well. The process ensures that each district’s learner outcomes are achieved and that each community is growing learners exactly as envisioned.

Learning Objectives:
  • Learn the process to create a learning environment based on student-centered learning experience to maximize academic ROI.
  • Discover impact on teacher/learner growth utilizing the LEARN© Rubric and Design Principles.
  • Summarize the community engagement process that leads to a collaborative, locally designed learning environment.
  • Identify ways to utilize existing resources and initiatives during design and implementation of an innovative learning environment.
Primary Competency:

Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.

Primary Domain:

Process: Content of this session/workshop will focus on the importance of quality processes and practices implemented by the project team when creating learning environments. The who, what, when and how of various disciplines and applications.

Secondary Domain:

Learning: Content of this session/workshop will focus on how we learn and/or how the physical environment responds specifically to various methods of instruction, pedagogies, learning styles, or learning trends.

Additional information: Our goal for this session is to help bring awareness to the importance of centering facilities planning around the (community-inspired) learning experience in order to achieve maximum results.