Facility design will never bring about change without attention to educational practice, leadership, and community engagement. Consider America’s experience with open classrooms: Despite flexible and adaptable settings that could support a variety of learning opportunities, teachers continued to operate in more traditional ways. Practice did not change and traditional form returned as walls were constructed and open classrooms declared a failure.

That is why Architects of Achievement attends to a number of key elements to support substantive change. Most school reform efforts focus in three areas: educational practice, leadership, and community engagement. Yet we often find that a fourth and critical component is missing — the design of learning spaces to support personalized instruction, active inquiry, performance assessment, and community-based learning.

Facility design will never be the sole driver of change, yet buildings can allow, and even encourage change, by physically supporting designs that promote powerful teaching and learning.

“The building is not the change... The building supports the change.”