Supporting an Innovative Curriculum Through the Built Environment

3:30 PM
 4:30 PM


Educational methods are in a state of evolution; methods are advancing to accommodate all types of learners, to prepare students for careers that may not yet exist, to encourage interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and more. In order for educational environments to be most effective for students and educators, they must evolve alongside these changing methods. This session will explore the ways in which the built environment can support an innovative curriculum and pedagogical goals, from the perspectives of architectural design and school leadership. This session will explore the design process used to translate innovative curriculum into built environment through the case study of Academy of the City, an expanding charter school in New York City with progressive ideals. The design architect along with the school’s executive director will present the idealized design that was produced through the design process, as well as the design ultimately selected by Academy of the City due to budget and real estate constraints. In addition, South Texas contract furniture industry leader Shannon Meek will provide a deep dive on how furniture, from desks with built-in widgets to informal areas for collaboration, can spark innovative learning in support of school goals.

#1: Illustrate examples of an innovative, progressive curriculum such as that of Academy of the City
#2: Recognize ways in which the built environment can support innovative curriculum to meet pedagogical goals and needs
#3: Understand how designers and educators can work together to identify and incorporate key design features despite real-world constraints such as budget and real estate
#4: Identify ways in which furniture can be utilized as a tool to spark innovative learning

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.  

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.

Richard Lee, Executive Director, Academy of the City
Richard is an experienced progressive educator. Richard founded Academy of the City Charter School in 2011 and now serves as Executive Director. Academy of the City has been named as a Reward School by the New York State Education Department for the past three years. He works with school leaders to ensure that Academy of the City both maintains its vision of excellence and also expands that vision to other schools.

Shannon Meek, Principal, Inside Evolutions
Shannon has 21+ years of interiors experience and has been involved in every facet of furniture dealerships and manufacturers including sales, design and project management. After running three companies for others, he started IE in order to set a new level of industry performance. As Owner and Principal, his goal is to guarantee the right team and products come together to ensure a project, regardless of size, is completed to client specifications and exceeds expectations.

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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