Principles that Guide School Design

What guidelines do schools follow when designing new space to support learning that reflects the CES Common Principles? Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine and the Julia Richman Educational Complex, six autonomous schools under one roof in New York City, provide examples of the operating principles that guided their planning and decision-making.

Julia Richman Educational Complex

  • The single structure should be reconfigured into a complex that would house multiple schools.
  • Each school should be regarded as an autonomous unit, having control over curriculum, educational philosophy, staffing, schedule and organization.
  • No single school in the complex should exceed 300 students in order to promote both quality education within schools and a sense of community among schools.
  • Each school should be allocated a secure and autonomous space.
  • A governance structure should be created with in the complex that would foster and support democratic decision-making, school autonomy, and a building-wide community.

source: “The Transformation of One Large Urban High School,” by Ann Cook, in Creating New Schools: How Small Schools Are Changing American Education, Evans Clinchy, editor. (New York: Teachers College Press, 2000)

Noble High School

  • The school should abolish anonymity by creating schools within schools.
  • The spaces should reflect the concept of student as worker, teacher as coach.
  • The curriculum should be collaboratively designed, interdisciplinary and project-based.
  • The school should be a community center that brings community members into the education of its students.
  • The school should be flexible in design, material and function.

source: “From Scratch: Designing and Building an Essential School” presented at CES’s 1997 Fall Forum by John D’Anieri (Freeport High School, former Noble High School Future Planning Committee Co-Chair) and Daniel W. Cecil, AIA (Project Architect, Harriman Associates, Auburn Maine)