Last week was packed with learning and sharing for me, so I am going to do a set of very short blogs. First up is the INCREDIBLE new high school building at Mt. Vernon School in Atlanta. Followers will know that I have viewed Mt. Vernon as an exemplar, leading-edge school for a number of years. This new space was a huge commitment to a new school operating system that is highly student-centric, and dedicated to their mission of design, inquiry, and impact.
You can see a number of images of the space via this link. Missing are the students, which means you really do need to go see the school if you are planning any major new classroom facilities or renovations. A couple of big takeaways:
- The architectural finishes are fantastic, but they are just the ornaments on the tree. You could do with less and still have a set of spaces that redefine great learning environments.
- The attention to programming detail is remarkable, down to storage spaces, teacher work spaces, and shared student lockers.
- The use of classrooms, programmed according to a new set of course offerings that allow students to build their transcripts along personalized, interest-based pathways is revolutionary.
- The flow of students in and out of “classrooms” into the shared maker and breakout spaces as part of their subject-based time is just magical to see. These kids and teachers are totally owning the classwork, not the other way around!
I could write a book about “how” Mt. Vernon designed this new building, the choices they made, and the impact it will have on how learning takes place. But I won’t; hope they will! I know videos will be coming soon from Mt. Vernon, and I will share them, but you really do need to try to get there for a tour of the place and program!