2014 CEFPI School of the Future Competition

Barbara Worth

The School of the Future competition challenges students from across the globe to think creatively as they plan and design tomorrow’s 21st century learning environments to enhance teaching and learning, being healthy, conserving resources, being environmentally responsive and engaging the surrounding community. The multi-disciplinary solution teaches students how to follow a planning process from the concept phase to completion of the project with lifelong learning skills. Students present their projects to a local jury in the school district level competition and have the opportunity to proceed to the state and regional competitions.

Schools around the world are advancing the limits of public education by providing real world learning experiences and opportunities for students to ask questions and problem solve, collaborate and gain experience in tactile, hands on work while developing the eye for beauty and design. This is a 21st Century learning approach where students are enabled, engaged and empowered through a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum, including leadership and teamwork proficiencies to master the 21st century skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy.

Students compete at the regional level in every region of CEFPI including the UK, India and Egypt. The 2013 final competition took place during scheduled educational sessions at the Northeast Region conference, offering attendees the opportunity to see these amazing kids “up close and personal”, receive AIA CEU credits and even serve on the jury. Building on the success of the program at the Northeast Region conference, each CEFPI region will host the SOF Regional Jury during their regional conference, allowing members to participate in the jury, offering the competition as regular education sessions with CEU credits and familiarizing members with the obvious benefits of the program. There will be ample time for attendees to meet and interact with these outstanding students – indeed tomorrow’s designers and builders.

Unique to the 2014 SOF program, the final jury process will take place at the CEFPI Annual Conference slated for Portland, OR, October 4-7, 2014, hosted by the Pacific Northwest Region and the Washington Chapter. This will be a highlight of the conference and attendees from across the globe will have the opportunity to observe the jury process.

A Glance at the 2013 School of the Future Program

Walking away with top honors, Eastview Middle School of Alberta, Canada, received the Award of Excellence. Capturing the Award of Distinction was the engaging Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School team from Blackburn, United Kingdom.  The enthusiastic girls from Oakwood Junior High, Dayton, Ohio, took the Award of Merit.

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Eastview Middle School, Red Deer, Alberta Canada, received the Award of Excellence for their proposal.

Eastview Middle School provided solutions not only for their school, Mamawayawin, but for their entire community and its public spaces. Their comprehensive research and incorporation of creative 21st century design solutions, which resulted in a downtown urban setting for their building, focused on the establishment of community partnerships and educational delivery. Emphasizing that “learning is not limited by four walls,” it was clear that these students thought through every aspect of contemporary educational design, learning styles and pedagogy. Following Finland’s very successful portfolio system, they created individual learning programs and grouped students by learning styles.  “Gamification” was introduced to inspire alternative learning skills. Incorporating geothermal heating and cooling, solar energy and public access for micro-climates with their green roof and gardens, the school serves as a learning tool for the entire community. Following their first place win, the students pitched their ideas to an important audience closer to their home in Alberta that included Premier Alison Redford, Minister of Education Jeff Johnson and Minister of Infrastructure Wayne Drysdale.  Following the presentation, when asked if Red Deer had a Mamawayawin School in its future, Johnson said, “Stay tuned.”

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Award of Distinction went to Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School team from Blackburn, United Kingdom.

The Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School team chose to build their STEM-centered facility on an abandoned coal mine, rethinking the existing landscape and truly embracing “renew, reuse, recycle” in creating their sustainable building. The team exemplified great social understanding with integration of multi-cultures as one of their highest goals. Their strong research and grasp of sustainable features and systems was exceptional.  Utilizing rammed earth construction, a recycled oil rig infrastructure, hydro electric energy, wind turbines, nitrogen generation, thermo-chromic glass and rainwater harvesting, the students created a unique learning environment that incorporated flexible space to support project-based learning and collaboration with local businesses. Adding a spot of humor, they included “people- energy” with turbine tennis shoes as a power source, offering the community recreation privileges in exchange for their hours of turbine production.

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Students from Oakwood Junior High, Dayton, Ohio took the Award of Merit.

A team of enthusiastic, engaging and innovative girls from Oakwood rounded out the day with a very thoughtful presentation regarding sustainability. In a phenomenal demonstration of their unique concepts, knowledge and collaborative planning, including content specific opportunities for content specific collaboration, they designed their paperless school in a solar shape symbolizing the sun as the ultimate source of energy, reminding us to engage sustainable means. Translucent building materials provided daylight and excellent insulation. Opening and closing of the students’ lockers powered small generators.  Additionally they utilized vertical axis wind turbines and sold excess energy back to the grid.

“Chairing the jury affords me one of the best days of the year,” remarked David Schrader, AIA, CEFPI international board member. “As we watched the presentations, it was clear that no matter how knowledgeable and talented each of the jury members from across North America, Australia and the UK were, the children’s message, knowledge, passion and enthusiasm humbled each and every one of us. These students truly represent tomorrow’s leaders and our future is in good hands.”

The Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) is the only professional organization whose principal purpose is improving the places where children learn. CEFPI embraces a diverse group of professionals with one single goal – building healthy, safe, high performance and sustainable learning environments that enhance student and teacher performance and support culture and community vitality. To learn more, visit www.cefpi.org


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