Huckabee worked with Channelview ISD on a district-wide rebranding process. By looking at the current brand and discussing what messages were important for the district to share, we helped create new logos and branding for each campus. Many stakeholders helped bring life to Channelview’s vision. Those involved felt that school pride, campus involvement and tradition were just a few of the positive results the new brands will foster. For more information on Huckabee’s environmental graphics and branding services, click here.
The LEx Collaborative’s research was published in Learning Environments Research and continues to explore the impact of flexible furniture in elementary classrooms. In this study, we investigated the various impacts of flexible furniture paired with teacher professional development in 10 elementary classrooms. It’s critical work as educators look to the physical learning environment as an additional resource in meeting learning outcomes. The findings from our research has helped inform design of both space and professional development for our clients.
To access the paper, click here.
Our latest MORE momentum webinar focuses on technology, instruction and virtual learning in 2020 and beyond. We discuss the tangible aspects like infrastructure and devices, the instructional aspects like designing learning and the tools to do that well, and the relational aspects like student engagement and teacher support. Each guest offers a unique perspective as we explore the past, present and future of these new waters we are charting.
Our guests include:
- Jesse Garn, Executive Director of Technology, Midway ISD
- Dr. Becky Odajima, Director of Innovation and Learning, Midway ISD
- Wes Kanawyer, Principal at Woodgate Intermediate School, Midway ISD
- Russ Johnson, CEO, True North Consulting Group
- Kerri Ranney, Vice President of Educational Practice, Huckabee
We’ve broken out each question for MORE Momentum #7: Technology + Instruction below. You can view the webinar in its entirety by clicking here.
Introduction + Past
Let’s start by looking back at March 2020 when schools closed for the school year. School districts had about a week to prepare amidst significant change. What did that look like in Midway ISD and what did your teams do to solve the challenges you faced?
One of the first things we had to do was mobilize technology to each student in the district and address connectivity (which remains one of the biggest challenges). We also had to support staff, students, devices and services from a remote location to homes across the district. Being a district with an existing 1-to-1 technology initiative helped us deliver instruction. We also focused on professional development to help teachers understand the online tools, resources and learning management systems they’d be using on a daily basis. We released about 100 hours of PD. Our curriculum and instruction team simplified instructional requirements, which helped teachers and parents in this situation.
At the campus level, our number one priority was student wellbeing and ensuring fundamental needs were met. We know that when anxiety goes up, performance goes down—that is true for adults and students. The goal was to lighten anxiety levels, simplify the process and then push out content.
Across the state we saw a lot of innovation in district technology teams. Districts fully embraced collaborative tools so they could maintain engagement with students and staff, but they also had to create new ways to support these tools in remote environments. Districts knew they still had the job of delivering instruction and delivering it to high expectations; this led to exploration of asynchronous PD as well as the #bettertogether movement that opened up new partnerships between school districts and business organizations.
Let’s look at summer 2020. School districts are working feverishly to develop plans to open schools safely in the fall while meeting the needs of families while they deal with this pandemic. What are some of the solutions from the spring that you’re carrying forward into fall?
Instructionally, we are looking at the essential curriculum standards and the best way to deliver them to students. We are implementing a hybrid learning model for students who cannot return to school and supporting the transition for students, teachers and families whose delivery method for learning could change throughout the year. Student interaction is still important, even if learning is taking place remotely. We are re-formulating our approach to interaction and even assessment.
We are also utilizing technology to keep students connected to their peers and developing methods for synchronous instruction that can occur with virtual and at-home students concurrently. At the same time, we are looking to maintain virtual collaboration between teachers and across campuses. Professional development will never be the same, and we are looking at ways to evolve our efforts.
At the site level, we will have to work to build rapport with new students and families across the district. We will front-load the year with tech proficiency and relationship building.
On the technology side, we have realized more flexibility within our support model. We have also become more comfortable with being uncomfortable and are more flexible mentally. School districts state-wide are remaining focused on connectivity and filling the gaps where needed. We are also seeing the success of content capture in higher ed trickling down into K-12 as school districts incorporate asynchronous learning into curriculum.
Let’s look to the future. What are some of the challenges you already foresee that you’re just now beginning to tackle?
Even once we overcome this virus, we will likely see hybrid learning remain for many different reasons. Some of the main challenges of this environment will be: improving accessibility to fiber networks and community WiFi; cybersecurity threats; and our ability to secure devices and data in an environment that we don’t always control.
We also have to prepare teachers for this hybrid model of learning and set a new standard for best practices in pedagogy. While we hope we never have to close schools so unexpectedly like we did this year, we’ve learned that we need to create a contingency plan in case we ever need to move to a fully virtual learning model again while maintaining consistency.
#InnovationRevolution and the Power in Collaboration
In education, we preach the power of collaboration, and this crisis has continued to show us the importance of collaborating with our colleagues, students and communities. We have found collaborating with different districts in the area to be beneficial as we are able to give one another encouragement and best practices. Our district began using the term #InnovationRevolution to publicly share ways we can all be innovative during this time.
About MORE Momentum
Huckabee’s MORE Momentum series highlights how our educational partners are investing their time, energy and focus to keep the momentum going during this unprecedented “pause.” We will explore themes related to bonds, planning, design and safety and security, among other topics that impact Texas public education. Follow us @HuckabeeInc on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In, or complete the form below to get a first look as new content is released.
For the full webinar, click below
Keep the momentum going!
Reach out to our Huckabee Communications team to learn MORE.
Kerri Ranney was reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the Texas School Safety Center Board, remaining the sole architect on the 15-member board. The committee focuses on school safety and security and their voices have been key in discussions involving reopening schools amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. To learn more about recent appointees and sitting board members, click here.
The Texas School Safety Center’s mission is to “serve schools and communities to create safe, secure, and healthy environments.” Kerri serves as our Vice President of Educational Practice; leads our educational research efforts at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative; led efforts to rewrite the school facility standards for the state of Texas (including school safety revisions); and has participated in several working groups focused on school safety and security. Her passion to create positive changes in education through her work motivates all that she does and is crucial now more than ever.
Due to its impact on academic achievement and other variables of interest, student engagement has been researched from multiple perspectives across a variety of age groups. However, most of the research has been focused on older students, leaving a gap in research of student engagement at the elementary level. This study reports on the psychometrics of a newly developed student engagement instrument for elementary school students.
Our hypothesis assumes that student engagement for elementary school students is comprised of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional metaconstructs. This instrument, named The Elementary Student Engagement Survey (ESES), was piloted with a sample of 202 students. We hope others can use this tool in their future research endeavors.
To read the full paper, click here.
LEx Research’s findings and methodologies from the early pilot studies on flexible furniture in the learning environment are now available. Through our research, Huckabee and our partners at ESC Region 12 and Baylor University seek to evaluate the effectiveness of flexible learning environments related to student engagement and achievement. More and more, educators are using the built environment as a tool to meet the needs of their students. In many cases, schools are replacing traditional desks and chairs with furniture that is more mobile and capable of multiple configurations.
While there are many studies focused on flexible furniture, there are very few that focus solely on elementary classrooms. LEx Research’s most recent pilot study investigated the various impacts flexible furniture paired with teacher professional development (PD) had for this young age group. A total of 10 classrooms were included in the study with 3rd and 4th graders (206 students). Classrooms were observed biweekly for eight weeks and assigned to one of two groups: Group A received PD and flexible furniture while Group B maintained traditional furniture. During observations three students were randomly selected per classroom and continuously monitored throughout each observation.
As predicted, students who engaged with flexible furniture reported greater satisfaction with the learning environment than did peers with traditional furniture. Secondly, a series of independent samples tests demonstrated classrooms with flexible furniture provided more opportunities for student autonomy and use of furniture for learning.
To read the full paper, click here.
At the LEx Collaborative, we are committed to empowering students and educators through the built environment. As part of an ongoing research project, we are investigating the impact that flexible classrooms have on students in the areas of collaboration, communication, critical thinking skills and creativity. As schools redesign learning environments and equip classrooms with flexible furniture, it is imperative to examine the impact on teacher pedagogy and student learning in these areas.
While the Longitudinal Study is ongoing, the critical pilot studies have been completed. Our researchers at Baylor University outline their findings and methodologies in a new article available on BEARdocs, “Transforming Teacher Pedagogy to Maximize 21st Century Skills Through the Learning Environment.”
Our Pilot Study consisted of two different types of classrooms: intervention and control. The intervention group received professional development and flexible furniture for eight weeks (four classrooms), and the control group maintained traditional furniture (10 classrooms). In total, 327 students in grades two to four, participated. Classrooms were observed biweekly for eight weeks. Our observation findings revealed that teachers in classrooms with flexible furniture provided more opportunities for students to participate and actively engage in 21st century learning skills.
To read the full paper, click here.
The LEx Collaborative was accepted to present all three of our submitted research papers at Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA) conference. SERA is a regional educational research association dedicated to furthering the advancement of research in education. The following papers were presented at the conference:
- Initial Development and Validation of the Elementary Student Engagement Survey (ESES)
- Transforming Teacher Pedagogy to Maximize 21st Century Skills Through the Learning Environment
- Investigating the Impact of Flexible Furniture in the Classroom
In April 17-21, our group will be presenting the ESES paper at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Conference in San Francisco, CA. AERA is as an organized body of 25,000 members and we’re looking forward to engaging with the educational community.
To learn more about SERA, click here.
Kerri Ranney, Huckabee’s Vice President of Educational Practice, is a contributing author for the new book, Planning Learning Spaces: A Practical Guide for Architects, Designers and School Leaders. Kerri is one of 19 contributors from across the globe who gives unique insight into how design of learning spaces contributes to students’ learning experiences in a quickly changing world. Her chapter, “Applied and Technical Learning,” focuses on authentic, hands-on learning and CTE design and features case studies from three Texas school districts: Georgetown ISD, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and Mansfield ISD.
With experience in architecture, educational planning and educational research, Kerri brings a diverse set of knowledge to the project. She was invited to provide the US perspective and is the only contributing author from this side of the pond. Collectively, the book’s contributors created a planning resource for designers, architects and school leaders.
Kerri is speaking at the book’s international launch in November 2019 at the Education Construction Network’s annual conference in Westminster. She and other contributors will highlight the importance of understanding the intended teaching and learning approach before creating the physical design of a school or classroom environment. We are proud of Kerri’s commitment to the project and her dedication to providing MORE resources for stakeholders around the world to enhance learning opportunities for all students!
The LEx Collaborative’s 2018-2019 Year in Review has been published; it highlights the purpose of the collaborative and results of the research that was conducted over the past year. The LEx Collaborative is committed to studying student engagement for elementary students, with a focus on how flexible furniture and professional development impact engagement and academic outcomes. The data is promising, and the next phase—a longitudinal study—is currently underway!
We found there to be an immediate positive effect on students’ perception of a learning environment simply by having flexible furniture in the classroom. We also observed students in flexible learning environments seek contact with their classmates 14 percent more of the time than their peers in traditional classrooms. Overall all, our findings indicate that students in flexible learning environments have more productive interactions than those in traditional learning spaces. To read the full report, click here.
Huckabee, ESC Region 12 and Baylor University are excited to further explore these findings as our longitudinal study continues through the 2019-2020 school year. We hope this document serves as a resource for other designers, school leaders, teachers and parents as we work to continually improve education for all students.
“Go! Take your teachers! Don’t let distance or time of year stop you from experiencing it with your teams.”
Holy Cross Catholic High School (HCCHS) will be one of the first Catholic education high schools in the Odessa / Midland area. Huckabee led a series of focused sessions to help HCCHS stakeholders define their vision for the new school.
Teachers visited the LEx Labs, Huckabee’s research space in Waco, TX, to explore interior design and furniture needs. Carolyn Gonzalez, Head of School, said, “My experience solidified my idea that space makes a difference in a student’s experience because it made a difference in my learning that day. I was able to do what was comfortable for me and still learn and participate in the session. The Lex Labs provided opportunities for our team to work in a modern learning environment. We moved through classrooms that are similar to what we will have in our new building.”
Her final words to anyone considering a visit to the LEx Labs… “Go! Take your teachers! Don’t let distance or time of year stop you from experiencing it with your teams.” We couldn’t agree more.
HCCHS began construction on phase 1 this fall with hopes to welcome students to the new campus later in 2020. The long-range plan for the school includes 21st-century features such as flexible classrooms, a library, media center, cafeteria, gym and athletic fields. The school will also feature a chapel.
LEx Collaborative was recently featured in Leaders of Learners. LEx Collaborative is Huckabee’s educational research partnership with Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12 and Baylor University’s Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER). Leaders of Learners is a magazine written out of Texas’s Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Located at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), LEx Collaborative conducts research in the intersection of professional development and the built environment to determine impact on student engagement and the learning experience.
In the article, LEx Collaborative dives into “the psychosocial aspects of the classroom, the culture of the school, teacher pedagogy, and most importantly, the built environment, and how each of these facets of education directly impact learning and student engagement.”
To read the essay and learn more about the LEx Collaborative’s partnership and how our team of experts is bringing together their specific skillsets and knowledge to improve education, click here.
Huckabee has been ranked No. 37 this year on the Architectural Record magazine Top 300 Architectural Firms list, moving up seven points from 2018. We are proud to serve students, educators and communities through our work, and we are honored that because of their trust, we have a platform to help improve education for all while excelling in our industry.
At Huckabee, we are committed to, and known for, design innovation, technical excellence and personal service. We have exclusively served educational clients in Texas for 52 years, completing over 3,500 projects and greatly impacting students and educators.
Click here to view the full list of Architectural Record magazine Top 300 Architectural Firms.