Opening the Egg Crate

“Imagine student centered schools that empower students to use technology to take charge of their own learning.” – Arthur Wise

Education Week_ End the Tyranny of the Self-Contained Classroom



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Angee Shaker, Director of Communications
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5 Responses to Opening the Egg Crate

  1. Publius says:

    Instead of this indoctrination on concepts that FNI builds, can we see some information on what neighboring systems and peer systems are doing? All I see is the the open classroom Footprint buildings, but now with smartboards, wifi and natural lighting. With the public saying they want to keep the best of our pre-WWII buildings (note building, not a few architectural details), where is the information in regard to adaptive reuse?

    • These are not mutually exclusive objectives. Learning Communities are classrooms (rooms with walls) that support the challenging inquiry based curriculum required to educate students of today and for generations to come. The architectural heritage embodied in the pre-war buildings are important parts of the neighborhoods in which they exist, and these buildings can be renovated to adapt to the educational needs of students, while maintaining their place as focal points of the community. We will post three case studies in Ohio communities where the exteriors and significant architectural features were preserved, but the classroom spaces substantially renovated to adapt to the needs of educating students.

      • Publius says:

        It would nice to examine what Lakewood did, as we have substantive similarities with them, and their project is nearly complete with significant citizen support. Not examining what they did would be unfortunate, as their renovated buildings cost less per square foot than new construction and took less time to build than their new schools. The most valuable comparisons and case studies will be those that examine pre-WWII inner-ring suburbs and not post-war suburban and exurban areas. Metro areas (i.e. Cleveland) and exurban (i.e. Bloomfield Hills, MI) are too dissimilar. What would be interesting to know is what school systems in the MSAN are doing. The more similar the systems are to CH-UH in demographics, socio-economics and funding mechanisms will make the case studies applicable and relevant. Please no more examples of private schools, schools overseas or corporate headquarters. Flexible spaces this community will support, open classrooms they will not. Burned once, they will not support this a second time regardless of what nomenclature is used to describe it.

      • The Citizens Facility Committee which met from 2010-2011 did visit Lakewood Schools. During Phase I and II (work completed) of their project, Lakewood built 2 new middle schools, 2 new grade schools, renovated 2 grade schools and the did Phase I of the high school. Phase III(awaiting funding) will close one grade school, renovate or build new 2 grade schools and complete the renovation of the high school. Their final mix will be 6 grade schools, 2 middle schools and 1 high school serving 8,300 students in Pre-K through 12. For comparison CH-UH Schools has a student population of approximately 5,800 students.

      • Publius says:

        According to the ODE website, Lakewood has an enrollment of 5,667 students. I believe 8,300 is the census data for all K-12 students, public and private. As such, our enrollment levels are comparable with Lakewood and they have a higher population density.

        The only members of the Citizens Facility Committee that met with Lakewood was a small group from the Assessment Committee and that was because a member of the committee set the tour up, not CH-UH staff. Had those members of the committee not sought out that visit, none would have taken place.

        Despite repeated requests from members of the Options Committee to review Lakewood and other comparable systems, no data was provided to them. They did hear a lot about what FNI had completed overseas, but saw no test data in regard to academic achievement attributable to said buildings. The data you have above is more information on a comparable school system than the options committee ever received, so I thank you for that! đŸ™‚ I believe Lakewood may also have one building that they use for “alternative” programming, increasing their building count by 1.

        In the end the Options Committee could not select from the 3 options presented to them by staff (who were using FNI as consultants) as there was not enough useful data presented. Those are the exact same options presented at the last public meeting. In those three options, the cost to build varied by only 10MM (less than 5%), and the operational savings between the three varied by less than 10%, between the min and max number of school buildings.

        It should be noted that the cost to build was based solely on square footage at $220/sq and not on any substantive analysis of our current buildings. In numbers from the Lakewood Treasurer, their renovated buildings cost less than their new ones, and were 6 to 12 months quicker to build.

        In a Cleveland Restoration Society study of four buildings in Cleveland Public, they found OSFC overestimated square footage by between 7% to 30% and renovation of the four buildings in the study would save Cleveland Public 17MM.

        FNI’s usage of CH-UH CSDs peak enrollment from the 60s is a spurious one, as since then we have closed 4 elementary buildings, replace 2 with smaller ones, demolished one Junior High, moved the 9th grade to the high school and seen an explosion in the sizes of libraries, offices, and single-purpose spaces. As such, the argument can be made that we have already reduced our square footage by anywhere from 25% to 40%.

        Following this path, in the spring of 2011 the District had approximately 150 elementary classrooms and 110 classes, implying that 40 are empty. This is not the case as the Assessment Committee did not find empty wings of buildings, as staff are putting the rooms to use. OSFC says our classrooms are 10 to15% smaller than they should be. Therefore, closing one elementary building with 24 classrooms would leave only 2.3 “empty” rooms per building, and those are undersize. Conversely, 110 “right-sized” classrooms would be equal to 127 of our current classrooms (based on square footage), what you would have by closing ONE elementary building. This would mean 6 buildings…the same as Lakewood.

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