A Look at Government Standards for Physical Design

The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (“NCEF”) is a US organization that provides comprehensive information on designing, building, and maintaining safe, healthy, high-performing schools — from early childhood and K-12 to higher education.  Sadly, the NCEF ran out of funding and the site hasn’t been updated since 2012, but it still contains thousands of reference materials.

One section for reference material  discussed standards in US schools (with resources from 2012 and earlier (http://www.ncef.org/rl/facilities_guides.cfm#books).

 I stumbled across some reference material for Virginia posted in 2012 which included a score card new construction.  (http://www.chps.net/dev/Drupal/node/622)

The scorecard had points for a school master plan but didn’t include  the words “learning” or “spaces” anywhere, so I concluded that there wasn’t much of a connection between the type of learning one might expect at Virginia schools and the specific spaces within the school.

I searched further and found a 2008 report from California which included a feature by Geoge Copa about linking learning and school design http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/fa/sf/documents/roundtablereport.pdf)

Copa’s four priorities, central to emerging thought on best practices in teaching and learning, included engagement, personalization, connectivity, and authencity.  Considering the state of California is broke, I don’t see much designing happening there in the near future, and given that this resource is 6 years old, I couldn’t ascertain if there was a strong connection between the type of learning in California and the spaces being used.

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