Workshop 2b: School Organizational Structure

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My Favourite Corner of Island School
Follow this link to see some shots taken by RLP to start the discussion going.
The first activity of this workshop involved a discussion around images that participants had provided of their favourite ‘corner’ of island School. This led to some rich debate about what it was we want to hang on to. There was broad consensus around the importance of block 5 playground and the three quadrangle that do so much to bring our school community together. We discussed how visibility and sightlines were key ingredients of our campus. The fact that everyone can see everyone else and that our external ‘corridors’ can double as viewing galleries and leverage informal social interaction.

Jason Lau from RLP helped this process along well by recounting his days at IS and the fond memories he had of the senior common room which, in those days, overlooked block 4 basketball courts.

What should the main common facilities look like in the new campus?

This activity involved us breaking into 4 smaller group to discuss the common areas in the new school. after 40 minutes of discussion each group fed back. The main points from the different group feedback is recorded below

Lobby

The group discussing this said that the new lobby should ….

  • … be an Informal space that led directly through to the ‘heart of the school (the new version of ‘block 5 payground’);
  • …  be multi-purpose and that it should have a reception, some sort of cafe and also space for learning. Some said that the lobby should be designed to allow for highly visible learning and celebration of student achievement.
  • …  have vegetation and lots of light.
  • … accommodate bases for the Principal and SLT that made them very visible;
  • … take account of space. Whilst it was desirable to have a large and open lobby, the group asked would this compromise the amount of space available elsewhere on the campus?

Cafes / Commons

The group discussing this said that the cafes and common areas should ….

  • … encourage both learning and socializing;
  • … support and encourage staff / student interaction, as well as informal teaching and learning;
  • …  provide enough space for students to eat without using classrooms.
  • … be like ‘street cafes’ that – link to and blended with outside areas (possibly house areas too).
  • … comprise a central cafe (inside) 300-400 students – with glass doors (visibility and light important);
  • … also provide smaller peripheral House eating areas (these to be used for different purposes at different times of the day). Possibly the eating areas could be along circulation routes;
  • … have some outlets open to public to encourage community members to hang back and get involved;
  • … take into account the need to serve community / evening events (Sports / performance etc).
  • …. not feel institutional or school like. We need to avoid the refectory approach.

Library

The group discussing this said that the library should ….

  • … focus on learning and not the storage of information. We do not know how the latter will change over the coming years and so adaptability needs to be taken into account;
  • …. include some sort of auditorium which could double as stairs;
  • …. have different dedicated areas for different styles of learning and interaction;
  • … be designed to attract students and encourage them to stay. It should provide comfortable accommodation for informal learning and possibly have a cafe;
  • …  be near the entrance and/ or at the centre of the school
  • … incorporate learning pods – for group learning and presentations

Cluster / breakouts

The group discussing cluster or breakout spaces said they should ….

  • … be organized around the six house blocks and act as the houses ‘homes’;
  • …. take account of the need for house assemblies / super lessons
  • …. support inter-house and all age socializing;
  • …. be equidistant from the ‘heart’ of the school.
  • … be designed so that staff and students can both access them easily;
  • … actively include and take account of the needs  of “support” staff.

How should the new campus be organized?

1.Each group discuss about the hierarchy of spaces

Key Questions ….
  • What is the first thing you want to see at the main entrance?
  • What functions are connected to the main entrance?
  • How are the functions grouped in each cluster?
  • How are different clusters connected horizontally?
  • How are different clusters connected vertically?
2.Arrange your ideal ‘city’ using blocks and post-its. Indicate the entrance by a red arrow.
3.Presentation by each group
4.Vote for one ideal city

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