Re-Imaging Schools Design

  1. Rationale

Students from across the university, completing a course in urban education will consider, as part of their coursework, how issues of equity, sustainability and democracy will be influenced by the future of education in a COVID-19 world. Students will use arts-based methods of expression to address these questions:

1. What might the future of public education in a post pandemic world look like?

2. What facets of equity, sustainability, democracy and community might matter most in post pandemic schools? And,

3. How can college students use the arts to enhance their voices and sense of civic participation in making education policy decisions at the state, local, and federal levels?

Creative modes of expressing their responses will include short films, collage, sculpture, digital media tools, and creative writing. One goal is to use art to impact larger public education policies and the powerful people who have “a seat at the table” by inviting students to articulate and visualize, or embody, the issues, thus elevating the social imaginary (Thompson, 1984) of students from simply completing an assignment for a course, to an invitation to share meaningful ideas in critical spaces. Social imaginary is, “the creative and symbolic dimension of the social world, the dimension through which human beings create their ways of living together and their ways of representing their collective life” (p. 6).

The methodology mirrors the intended outcomes:  to inspire students and communities to experiment with raw artistic materials, exploring their own techniques, to explore and invite discussion around the crisis facing public schools in these difficult times. It also creates meaningful hands-on learning thus creating “authentic assessment” (Wiggins, 1998) of their work.

The goals of this project are to:

1. Apply creative thinking toward imagining solutions to pressing societal problems;

2. Communicate the findings from their work to policy-makers;

3. Reflect what tomorrow’s generation believe are the central educational issues; and

4. Argue that their ideas should have a place in policy discourse.

  • Assignment Rubric

Public-school redesign. This is a good project if you are a visual or creative thinker!

Premise: Because of a global pandemic, the idea of large, district-wide public school buildings and classrooms are no longer permitted. You have been tasked with creating a public education redesign for your city. The city-wide schools can be remote, actual buildings, in-community, in-businesses, etc…anything goes! This new design can be AFTER the pandemic is over, or while one still rages on. YOU DECIDE.

The city has created some guidelines for you to follow (see below). You are to create an actual DESIGN and present it to the city council. Include a design and bullet points describing how your design takes into consideration 10 key issues (outlined below).

  • Design Guidelines:

____ Visually clear and appealing (shows quality, not sloppy).

____ Shows detail-not vague. The product clearly shows how it takes into consideration key issues (listed below).

____ You can choose from one or more of these materials: Graphic design webtools, collage, 3-D using foam core, recyclables, junk etc., free-hand illustrations with colored pencil, mixed media, or film (make a 5 min movie). IT CANNOT BE A POWERPOINT. IT MUST BE ORIGINAL WORK MADE BY YOU.

____ The product can be documented by scanning the image or take pics and save/post as JPEGS. Post images and 10 key issues word doc to Discussion strand.

Ten Key Issues:

  • Design:  The design addresses (make a bullet statement for each on a separate word doc) the following:

____The cost. How will this redesign be paid for? Taxes? State, Fed or local? Donations?

Privately owned? Businesses?

            ____ How will the schools ensure equity?

____ How does the space (building, rooms, location) etc reflect health, socialization, and

 maximize learning?

____ Curriculum. What will be taught. What is the value of this content to students and


_____ Cultural relevance. Does the curriculum and school design reflect the diverse

 interests, values and needs (i.e. special needs) of all students?

_____ Time of day. Length of school year. Days of week. What will it be and why?

_____ Beyond academics, how will your design accommodate social needs like after

school programs, sports, internships, mental health, meals, social work.

_____ How do you manage difficult situations around discipline, bullying, and


_____ Who decides what to teach? Who will teach? How are teachers prepared?

            _____ Assessment. How will students be evaluated? Graduate requirements?