Weekly NewsBriefs 8/15/22 - 8/21/22

News Clip


Learning spaces, wellness rooms, nature trails. This is the K-12 school of the future – By Jennifer Kingston, Axios

The hallway-and-classroom model of school architecture is out. Instead, forward-thinking schools feature flexible "learning spaces," wellness rooms, touch-free lighting and plumbing — and of course, souped-up HVAC for optimum ventilation.

Why it matters: Lots of pandemic relief money is earmarked for school improvements, so there's a big window of opportunity for construction projects that boost pedagogy as well as students' physical and mental wellbeing.

Driving the news: At the same time that teaching has shifted from a "sage on a stage" to a "whole child" approach — which emphasizes collaboration, small groups and hands-on learning — some school districts find themselves with cash for complementary architecture.

What they're saying: "Classroom design has evolved," says Troy Hoggard, an architect at CannonDesign. He worked with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on the Ehrman Crest Elementary/Middle School in Seneca Valley, Pennsylvania, opening this fall.

Vintage from 1899, from France in the Year 2000 postcard series


Special Ed Kids Were Shunted Back Online. Is It a Move to the Virtual Basement? – By Beth Hawkins, The 74

Days before its summer programs were scheduled to start, Minneapolis Public Schools sent a letter to the parents of hundreds of children with disabilities saying the in-person services the families had been promised had been moved online. For many, it was a one-two punch: Students needed the summer support to recover ground lost during distance learning, which didn’t work for many of them.

But there they were, being shifted back to a digital setting. 

The district said it could not staff in-person programs, but parents and advocates from local nonprofits clapped back angrily, noting that other Minnesota districts — and a dozen other Minneapolis summer programs — were fully staffed. Federal and state laws prohibit both making unilateral changes to special education services and relying on parents to supervise instruction, they noted in a letter to district leaders.      

The letter also charged that the decision discriminated against a category of students who require the most support — overwhelmingly children of color — and blasted school leaders for rejecting options suggested by the families.