by Greyson Van Arsdale, ’17

UAHS Design Teams work to improve high school

UAHS is usually under renovation. From fixing the leaks in the ceiling to relocating study halls to repainting the school during the summer, there’s always some form of improvement going on at the high school. Currently, four “design teams” are working to rethink and redesign aspects of the school. The four teams consist of the Learning Center team, the Experimental Classroom team, the Innovation Selection Process team, and the Research and Design Lab team. All these teams are led by and made up of teachers and administrators.

The Learning Center shows the most drastic renovation over the past school year. The area has been repainted, as well as bookshelves being moved to open up the space for use.  The new team is focused on finding new functionality in the redesigned space. Their goal, according to the agendas given to them, is to allow students to use the Learning Center in new, effective ways, but also make sure that the functions do not conflict with the uses of the Experimental Classroom, which will be a new space to enhance cross-program collaboration and project-based learning.

UAHS recently received a grant for 62 thousand dollars from Steelcase Grant, which is being used to furnish and equip the new Experimental Classroom.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 8.32.10 AMPrincipal Andrew Theado explained the details of the plan.

“Right now, the team is looking at putting the Experimental Classroom on the first floor of the Learning Center,” Theado said. “The specifics have to be worked out, like how are we going to separate that concept from the rest of the [Learning Center].

The Research and Design Team, however, is not working with a physical place like the first two groups.

“The Research and Design lab is a way to support innovative things happening in our building,” Theado said.

The R&D Design Team’s assignment is to write a job description for UAHS’s Human Resources to consider.

“The goal of R&D is not to add positions to the high school,” Theado said. “But to have an innovations center, or an R&D lab, we would need somebody [already working for UAHS] to be leading it.”

The final team is the Innovation Selection Team.

“We have staff that do innovative things all the time,” Theado said. “Whether that’s small-scale and affects only their classroom, people do that all the time. But sometimes, people have ideas that are bigger in scale and scope, meaning it could affect more people and more programs, so Innovation Selection would be that process to look at different ideas to figure out what, as a building, do we need to support with resources.”

With these four teams working to improve the high school, the building may have a more student space, more functionality and a more streamlined process for students and teachers to rethink and reimagine their school.