- Superintendent Jon Ray used the need to correct a mold growth issue at California’s Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District three years ago as a chance to update the learning environment at the school, District Administration reports.
- Classrooms now include SMART Boards, Prowise touchscreen computer monitors, surround sound speakers, more outlets and movable desks that can be connected to one another for group projects.
- Since the remodel, the school district has seen attendance rates rise from 88% to 96% and the rate of students in each grade level performing at or above grade level in every subject has risen from 8% to 24%.
Problems like widespread mold do occur at times in schools, though these issues can often be addressed at lower costs if caught early on. However, other situations, such as the recent hurricanes and fires that have affected large portions of the nation and impacted many schools, take much longer recovery times. Even simple age and decay can affect school buildings to the point that a major overhaul is needed
At such times, school districts need to look to the future as they remodel. Classrooms need to allow for more use of technology and be more adaptable to small group instruction. A white paper on modern learning environments, written by Mark Osborne, suggests that all new learning environments should focus on flexibility, openness and access to technology.
Classrooms can also be designed to become intentional and creative workspaces that inspire student achievement. While classroom design alone is not the answer to improved academic performance, there are studies to suggest that an attractive, functional classroom can impact the way students learn. It may be that such designs enhance the way teachers teach and they are the ones making the most difference in students' learning.