Text description provided by the architects. The new school facility located in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago accommodates the day school, Moving Everest Charter School (ME), and the after-school provider, By The Hand Club For Kids (BTHC).
Grades K-5 make up the school’s enrollment with each grade totaling (90) students, which is further divided into (3) classrooms. ME utilizes a blended learning rotational model to enable a more personalized learning experience and lower the student / teacher ratio. Within each classroom a teacher and a teacher aide facilitate both direct instruction and collaborative activities at the same time while a percentage of students move out to breakout rooms and the computer lab for independent study. Breakout rooms and the computer lab are centrally located between the classrooms to facilitate an efficient rotation. The connecting slot between the break-out rooms and computer lab serves an additional impromptu learning space and is meant to disrupt the typical corridor arrangement with its diagonal colorful walls, carpet tile flooring, lowered ceiling, playful child height windows and reading nook.
With separate day / after-school providers, sharing the building and creating delineations between the two users was important. Classrooms are equipped with separate keyed closets, lockable sliding marker boards (to reveal and hide materials) and smart projectors to easily change curriculum. A large staff work room on the 2nd floor provides space for a seamless transition between the teachers and after-school staff. Technology further enhances the physical accommodations with a robust fiber internet service & wireless access points, chrome books (for instruction) and a video wall in the main lobby where both users are able to customize their own content and change the identity of the space. A branding hierarchy was established between both organizations and each ID colors, logos, imagery and donor acknowledgment were integrated into the architecture. The exterior composition maintains a strong emotional connection with the community while the bright colors and light filled interior spaces encourage a dynamic learning experience.