When you apply empathy to learning areas and honestly listen to the people who would like to use those areas, miraculous educational change and innovation can occur. To start the transformation of three of our oldest schools, our architects led us through a process called the Transcendent School Visioning workshop. This workshop brought board members, administrators, teachers, students, and community members together to learn about the design thinking process: ideation, definition, prototyping, testing, repetition, and empathy.
A transformed library and computer lab that now incorporated a makerspace, a STEAM Lab, a green screen production studio, a Ted Talk presentation area, a collaboration and gathering space, an outdoor community garden, a focused learning area, and a student-led help desk at Viking Middle School all resulted from one day of working through that process in 2016. In 2017, we went through the same process of revamping our library and computer cab in our K-8 school, RiverTrail School. We will do the same this summer for our preK-2 building in summer 2019. We believe in the power of intentional, flexible spaces to enable innovative teaching and learning opportunities.