The Integration of Diversity: Designing for Inclusion

3:30 PM
 4:30 PM


Diversity can be measured in a myriad of ways. Understanding that we are all different and unique is essential in designing inclusive environments intended to promote growth and foster leadership. Studies show that diversity among students can directly impact achievement, aid in developing empathy and even help a student feel safer. There is educational value in diversity and designers need to be advocates for diversification. In this program, we will discuss planning and design influences of inclusive and universal educational environments. Spaces that embrace all students by addressing accessibility, sensory integration differences, auditory and vision challenges, developmental and emotional limitations, gifted and twice-exceptional differences as well as gender-neutral spaces. Thoughtful design considerations such as lighting, acoustics, color, tactile paving, furniture, classroom structure, and assistive technology, all play an integral role in contributing to the physical and emotional safety of all students. School districts are paving the way. Across the nation, districts are starting to implement disability awareness programs to help students better understand what it’s like to live with a disability. In addition, there is a growing trend of state funding for School Mental Health and Support Services within K-12 budgets. School campuses are heightening their health and wellness programming to acknowledge mental health issues in our schools. Architecture and the spaces we inhabit subconsciously affect our mood. Thoughtful, well-designed architecture can have a profound influence on our well-being, as well as a major impact on cognitive development in children. Designing environments that give way to positive school experiences for all students is our foundation.

#1: Identify the benefits of designing for diversity
#2: Explore the basic principles of universal design
#3: Discuss presentation approach and learning styles, and how to leverage the role of assistive technology in universal design
#4: Participants will take with them the knowledge to carry on the dialogue of equity and inclusion, becoming advocates for diversification

Educational Facility Implementation, Project Management/Project Delivery: Has a working understanding of how the following areas impact the facility program: regulations and policies; project delivery methodologies; scheduling; preventative maintenance.

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.  

Anne Hildenbrand, AIA, Associate Principal, BRW Architects
Anne is the daughter of two collegiate chemists and granddaughter of an artist. She embodies the vision for both right and left-brain thinkers. As Senior Director for BRW Architects, she leads project teams fostering client relationships on many of the education studio’s most complex projects. Anne has a broad range of expertise in quality control, programming, sustainable design, product specification, and cost and code analysis. Anne resides in Dallas, Texas.

Ashley Jones, S.T.E.A.M. Instructional & Design Coach, Highland Park ISD
Ashley has built her classroom around relationships, inquiry and creation, and is a champion of cultivating children’s strengths. She started her teaching career in 2007 and in recent years, she has earned numerous accolades and prestigious awards including HEB Excellence in Education State Finalist, Richardson ISD’s 2018 Elementary Teacher of the Year and Lake Highlands Most Innovative Teacher. Ashley has been instrumental in the planning and development of the S.T.E.A.M. Team for HP ISD.

Monica Simonds, M.Ed, Director of Advanced Learning Programs and Services, Richardson ISD
Monica is originally from Louisiana although she has been in Texas for twenty years. As the Director of Advanced Learning Programs and Services for Richardson ISD, she has a developed expertise in equity, high-ability learners, and social-emotional learning. She is currently on the Texas Association of Gifted and Talented Board of Directors and she presents regularly in the state and nationally on topics ranging from legal requirements for gifted education to leading programmatic change.

LearningSCAPES Virtual Conference: Passport to Learning



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