42 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
Making it Happen
T he challenge of building new schools and modernizing existing ones offers the
opportunity to enhance teaching and learning, and to strengthen communities
at the same time.
By initiating a thoughtful, inclusive school facilities planning process, school districts can
incorporate diverse points of view, take advantage of the power and creativity of parent and
business partnerships, enlist widespread community funding support, and create high
performance schools that serve both students and their communities.
There is no precise formula for making this all happen, but the following 19 steps—and the
action checklists that accompany them—provide the basics.
Getting Started and Getting Organized — Steps 1 through 5
Involving the Community in the Planning Process — Steps 6 through 12
Developing and Implementing a Master Plan — Steps 13 through 19
In any community, if a cross section of key leaders gets together
and sees an issue that needs attention, especially one with economic implications,
something's going to happen.
—Cynthia Marshall, Executive Director, Cities in Schools of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, North Carolina
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 43
Getting Organized and Getting Started
STEPS 1 THROUGH 5
The initial phase of the planning process STEP 1 come from conversations among neigh-
requires strong leadership and commit- bors, a small group of concerned citizens,
ment, which must come not only from or a single individual.
the Planning Process
school board members and school district An assistant superintendent and a local
officials; it must come from concerned and developer got things started in northern
The planning process for schools is
active people and organizations within the typically initiated by the local school California's Western Placer Unified School
community. board or school administration, but District by talking to the local school
the spark that ignites the process may board. In Gulfport, Mississippi, the school
board president kicked things off, and
Step one is simple: Identify a handful of key players in your community—perhaps four to six—for an initial meeting or conversation.
44 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
Mighty things from small beginnings grow.
—Annus Mirabilis, poem by John Dryden published in 1666–1667
within a year more than 450 Gulfport citi- At the initial meeting, present the • Training and support materials
zens were participating in the district’s issues at hand along with the idea of
• The services of a professional planner
master planning process. When eventually creating a community-wide process for
developing a school facilities plan. Trust
or facilitator or the dedicated time of a
presented to voters, the plan they had
the group to create solutions and qualified district employee to oversee
developed to replace two facilities and
provide guidance. the process
renovate the district's remaining schools
was overwhelmingly approved in the As a group, create an action plan that • Paying for release time (utilizing
largest school bond issue allowable under encompasses the next four steps of the substitute teachers) or extended time
Mississippi law. planning process. Consider beginning the (with overtime payments) to allow
action plan with a short statement of school personnel to participate in
STEP 1 ACTION CHECKLIST: purpose that articulates clearly what you planning sessions
INITIATING want the planning process to accomplish.
This statement will be useful as you move
• Paper, printing, and postage to
THE PLANNING PROCESS
through the following steps. produce and disseminate interim
Identify a handful of key players in and final reports
your community—perhaps four to six—
• The services of a communications
for an initial meeting or conversation.
STEP 2 specialist or media consultant to help
When considering prospective players,
Funding communicate goals and plans
take into account their likely level of
commitment and their potential for the Planning Process • Clerical or technical assistance,
leadership as well as their community as needed.
standing. An active parent might be the An extensive community-oriented
right person to help spread the word planning process requires funding, In a world of shrinking resources and
and mobilize a larger group. An influ- and one of the first tasks of the growing demands for public account-
ential business owner or clergy member initiating group will be to secure it. Since ability, obtaining funding for the planning
might be most effective at initiating the the process proposed here is both philo- process can be a major obstacle. When
planning process. Local governmental citizens want hard data and measurable
sophically and practically a collaborative
leaders may have an interest in sharing
and inclusive one, a combination of public results, the whole notion of planning might
facilities and the cost benefits derived
and private funds will probably provide the well be seen as an expendable frill. When
from multiple uses of the same spaces.
best funding mix. teachers are underpaid or their positions
Extend personal invitations to bring Regardless of potential funding sources, are eliminated because of funding short-
this small group together. Keep in mind members of the initiating group need to be ages, or when students have too few
that face-to-face conversations are more textbooks—let alone adequate access to
able to tell prospective donors why the
effective than phone calls, and phone
money is needed.While specific expendi- computers—a community-based planning
calls are more effective than letters.
tures and expenses for the planning process process might be viewed as a luxury the
Select a leader for the initial meeting. undoubtedly will vary from community to district can ill afford.
Consider someone who is skillful at community, funds likely will be required for Addressing these issues and concerns
facilitating conversations, but who will each of the following activities: requires proponents to imaginatively and
not dominate them. persuasively articulate the benefits of
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 45
One of the toughest challenges in the beginning was convincing the school board that we should
spend more money on planning.... In the end, the total cost of the facilities that were suggested in the
master plan cost 19 percent less than if we had used a traditional model. Our planning costs
represented only 5 percent of the projected savings. We felt like we had earned our keep.
—Roger Yohe, Superintendent, Western Placer Unified School District, Lincoln, California
planning, relying on concrete research board support is vital to the success of a professional. Even when there are skilled
and examples that demonstrate convinc- widespread planning effort, and that facilitators on staff, an outsider may be
ingly how an investment in planning can, board members are more likely to sanc- best because of the neutral image, external
tion and allocate funding when they are
over the long term, positively affect stu- knowledge, and fresh approach he or she
included as players from the outset.
dent achievement, the community, citizen can bring.
support, and fiscal management. After you have secured funding, Although each district will need to
tailor plans to reflect your actual budget. consider its own unique situation and
STEP 2 ACTION CHECKLIST: resources to determine who should be the
FUNDING THE PLANNING PROCESS
facilitator, the process will succeed only if
STEP 3 the facilitator can devote a significant
Create a list of potential donors.
amount of time and energy to the work.
Consider both public and private Identifying a Facilitator
It may take a year of thoughtful,
concentrated work to build the community
Once the school board has sanc-
Develop a proposed budget based
tioned a facilities planning process consensus necessary for a quality planning
on the kind of planning process you
and secured funding to support it, process. Time, knowledge, and expert facil-
envision for your district and com-
the next step is to identify a facilitator to itation skills are needed to share the infor-
munity. Include categories for all the
organize and oversee planning activities. mation and perspectives necessary to help
planning functions you foresee, along
with a rationale and projected dollar Community-centered facilities planning is everyone understand the issues, express
amount for each. time-consuming and challenging; leading their views, and participate fully.
such a collaborative process requires great Ample time and a good grasp of
Arm yourself with research and
skill and commitment. planning are required to develop recom-
examples illustrating the positive bene-
The best candidate to guide the work mendations that match goals, address
fits of planning, particularly in terms of
should possess a strong background in needs, and result in widespread community
improved student achievement, commu-
nity benefits, citizen support, and long- planning; a good working knowledge of acceptance.
term savings. current educational research and best
STEP 3 ACTION CHECKLIST:
practices; effective communication skills
Create a presentation for potential IDENTIFYING A FACILITATOR
donors. Include the overall goals of the
as a listener, speaker, and writer; experi-
planning process, an overview of the ence in facilitating large group meetings; Develop a facilitator job description.
steps involved, expected outcomes and a demonstrated ability to build con- Include tasks, time commitments, and
and benefits, and an itemized list of sensus. The candidate also must be skilled preferred qualifications, such as:
proposed expenditures. in analyzing and using data. • Strong background in facility
A good facilitator may already exist planning
Decide who will approach each
specific potential donor to request
within the school system. If not, the • Solid working knowledge of
financial support. Remember that school district should engage the services of a current educational research and
46 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
best practices • Ability to build consensus in selecting a facilitator will likely
• Effective communication skills as a promote future support for the project.
Consider the needs of your district,
listener, speaker, and writer Moreover, such participation will
assess your resources (personnel, time,
reflect and demonstrate a key tenet of
• Experience and skill in facilitating and money), and decide whether you
the entire facilities planning process:
large meetings, including the ability will select a facilitator from inside or
including all community interests.
to set clear directions, remove outside your school district.
barriers, and recognize when to step Select the facilitator and brief him or
Define the selection process.
back and let the group's creativity her on your goals and directions and on
Consider that widespread participation
and energy flow the work completed to date.
Photo: Digital Vision.
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 47
STEP 4 L.A.'s best schools come in all shapes STEP 5
and sizes, but they are led by people
Assembling who aren't deceived about wherein lies Organizing
the Core Planning Team the real power to create change. These the Steering Committee
leaders build a local alliance that
empowers them to battle and break free
A core planning team of about
One of the core planning team's
from the status quo. This covenant with
a dozen experienced and respected the community must begin in the plan- initial tasks will be to organize a
leaders is needed to serve as the ning stages for a new school; otherwise, steering committee. While this
leadership backbone for the project through the bulldozers will wipe out many of committee will vary in size according to the
to its completion. the seeds of innovation. makeup of the community and the school
For the team to succeed, it should —Reverend Phillip Lance, President, district, it should be large enough—and
Pueblo Nuevo Development,
include credible community members Los Angeles, California broad enough in its thinking—to repre-
who represent the full breadth of opinion sent the interests and resources of the
within the school district. The team’s entire community. Many successful
STEP 4 ACTION CHECKLIST:
primary responsibilities will include: steering committees have been comprised
of a hundred or more educators, parents,
• Naming steering committee members THE CORE PLANNING TEAM
students, and representatives from local
(see Step 5)
Develop job descriptions for members civic and business organizations.
• Securing materials and resources of the core planning team. Include tasks The steering committee ultimately will
• Forming and leading the steering and time commitments. be responsible to the community for devel-
committee Identify a dozen or so key players
oping the facilities master plan. Among its
in the community. Solicit suggestions for members' most important roles will be to
• Scheduling meetings and establishing
team members from them and a variety serve as key communicators between the
a reasonable timeline for completing
of other sources. Consider potential community and the committee itself.
the planning process
members’ commitment and leadership Specifically, the steering committee will
• Constituting subcommittees, as needed abilities as well as their standing in the participate in each of the following activi-
community. Ensure that the planning ties, which are discussed in the following
• Managing the planning process
team will represent the full breadth of section of this book as Steps 13 through 19
between meetings of the steering
community viewpoints. of the facilities master planning process.
Issue personal invitations to serve on
Step 13. Building common under-
• Editing the school facilities master plan the core planning team. Remember, a
standing, shared beliefs, and collective
• Communicating with the larger face-to-face conversation is more effec-
vision about schools and schooling
tive than a phone call, and a phone call
community throughout the process and within the community
is more effective than a letter. As part of
distributing the master plan when it is
your invitation, explain the purpose of Step 14. Determining facilities-related
the planning process and summarize the educational and community needs
job description for team members.
A dedicated group of leaders who have Step 15. Identifying assets and
diverse perspectives and a common com- Bring the members of the core resources
mitment can implement a planning process planning team together with the facil-
itator. Provide them with background Step 16. Developing specific recom-
that really makes a difference, mobilizing the
information and appropriate training in mendations
kind of change described by Reverend
facilitation and the planning process.
Phillip Lance, member of the Los Angeles Step 17. Communicating with the larger
Unified Schools District's New Schools/ community to solicit feedback and
Better Neighborhoods Advisory Committee: build consensus on recommendations
48 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
In West Virginia, where minority populations represent a very small component
of the total population, divisions along racial or even ethnic lines are rare.
Here, divisions occur along lines of family or geography.
Geographic divisions take place between folks who live in the hills and the valleys
or between folks who live on opposite sides of a river. In Putnam County,
even though most of the population is on the south bank of the Kanawha River,
it is always important to make sure that north bank residents get their equitable share of the action.
They represent a small but politically vocal and powerful minority.
—Dr. Sam Sentelle, Superintendent, Putnam County Schools, Putnam County, West Virginia
Step 18. Creating a school facilities facilitator and the members of the core the committee's purpose and a summary
master plan planning team; they need to be consis- of expectations for members.
tently reinforced through training and Send out materials in advance of
Step 19. Supporting the plan’s
vigilance. the first meeting. Include pertinent
facts about the school district and its
STEP 5 ACTION CHECKLIST: facilities, an overview of the facilities
Key concerns for selecting steering
ORGANIZING THE STEERING planning process, a schedule of future
committee members include the need to
COMMITTEE meetings, and literature about current
reflect as many perspectives as possible,
research and best practices related to
to fully represent the region's social and Make a list of potential steering com-
teaching and learning. The design prin-
ethnic diversity, and to include all geo- mittee members who meet the three cri-
ciples and descriptions of actual innova-
graphic areas in the school district. teria of clout, commitment, and diversity.
tive school designs contained herein can
“Diversity”means different things to Keep in mind that members should
provide useful advance information.
different communities. Consider, for example, include educators, parents, students, and
representatives from local civic and busi- Plan meetings carefully. Prepare a
the case of the Appalachian community that
ness organizations within the community. list of operating norms to guide the
is quoted at the top of this page.
Consider soliciting suggestions for poten- steering committee. Build into the
When the objective is to achieve com-
tial members from groups such as the meeting schedule time to develop a
prehensive diversity on a single committee,
PTA, the local ministerial association, and common knowledge base, provide
it is helpful to consider community leaders training and orientation for the planning
the Chamber of Commerce.
who can represent several issues or con- process, and prepare a shared mission
stituencies. Whenever a diverse group Create a database to track members
statement focused on addressing the
and ensure broad representation from
comes together, disputes and disagree- district's and community's facilities needs.
the outset. This database will aid com-
ments may be expected, so it is wise to
munication throughout the process.
choose steering committee members who
can remain open minded and committed Schedule an initial meeting of
to achieving community consensus and a prospective members, issuing invitations
shared vision. From the outset, these through personal contact or by tele-
phone. Follow up with a written invita-
attributes need to be demonstrated by the
tion that includes a brief statement of
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 49
Involving the Community
STEPS 6 THROUGH 12
The process of creating a school facilities forge renewed commitment to the commu- STEP 6
plan should involve a shared community nity’s schools. People tend to support what
vision about the kinds of education its they help create.
citizens want. By encouraging respectful The synergy of shared decision
Ironically, students—the people
and productive communication among making, problem solving, and goal setting with the largest stake in education
diverse constituencies, a broad and inclu- builds a strong foundation for collective and those most directly affected by
sive planning process can bring about responsibility and an enduring support the learning environment—are the ones
results far superior to one developed by for schools. Steps 6 through 12 of the most frequently excluded from decisions
only educators, or architects, or any other process—intended to involve community regarding its design. Leaving students out
single group. Many viewpoints and multiple interests in school facilities planning— of the planning process is a mistake.
perspectives really are better than just a should be undertaken concurrently. Clearly they have a vested interest in the
few, and an inclusive planning process can
With proper facilitation and in numbers sufficient to provide adequate peer support, students can be a tremendously productive force in the
planning process. Photo: Photodisc.
50 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
Students are extraordinary teachers. They speak. They constantly tell us
how our expectations, objectives, curriculums, and instructional strategies affect them.
We need to look to our students to tell us why learning takes place—and why it doesn't.
Our students are key sources for helping us identify what needs to be done....
Often we forget to ask them, and we forget to listen to the important messages they bring.
—Anthony Gregorc, as quoted in The Hero's Journey (Brown 1999)
outcome and deserve a place at the table. with adult colleagues who are doing real committee, teachers taught their students
Including students is not only the right work can give them a particularly rich how to design, draw, and create models
thing to do, it is the wise thing to do. learning context. Not only will they be able that they used to communicate with the
Student participation can be valuable to watch adults apply their skills in real- architects designing Lincoln's new schools.
for several reasons. First, students have world situations, they will have the chance Finally, the community has much to
much to offer to the process. They repre- to practice the skills themselves. Serving gain by involving students because the
sent a pool of creativity and enthusiasm. on the steering committee can give students students develop an ethic of community
Young people definitely know about the opportunity to exercise skills in service and gain practice in caring for a
schools—how their buildings feel and research, analysis, communication, problem society greater than themselves. Asking
work, and how people feel and work when solving, and collaborative teaming, all of students to join in such a collaborative
they are in them. They often are free from which are necessary for workplace success. action is a critical strategy for fostering the
entrenched and typically self-defeating Third, the facilities planning process spirit of community for the future.
assumptions about why things are as they can demonstrate best practices in educa-
Surely it is an obligation of education
are or why they cannot be changed, and so tion: Learning that is integrated and in a democracy to empower the young
can be a source of refreshing ideas and applied, where teamwork and collaborative to become members of the public, to
innovative suggestions. With proper facili- problem solving are the norms, and where participate, and to play articulate roles
in the public space.
tation and in numbers sufficient to provide student work is valuable. This was the case
adequate peer support, students can be a in Lincoln, California, where educators in —Maxine Greene,
The Role of Education in Democracy,
tremendously productive force in the the Western Placer Unified School District (Green 1985)
planning process. incorporated their planning process into the
Second, students have much to learn curriculum. In conjunction with their work
from the process. The chance to interact as part of the community-based planning
To enact change where it matters most—in the culture and instructional practices of schools—
we need bold action. We must build a new coalition that includes
teachers, students, administrators, support staff, caregivers, businesses, service organizations,
and members of local and regional communities. The times demand that we act
in greater numbers with extraordinary vision, integrity, and caring for children we serve.
We believe we are up to the task.
—John L. Brown and Cerylle A. Moffett, The Hero's Journey (Brown 1999)
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 51
STEP 7 answer questions, gain feedback and sug- it has not been common. In the 1950s and
gestions, and suggest ways of helping their 1960s, an entire generation of open-plan
sons and daughters learn. Perhaps more schools was designed and constructed
importantly, educators can become fellow with limited input from affected teachers.
As with students, parents histor-
ically have been a greatly under- researchers with parents, together discov- While there may have been significant
represented constituency in the ering better ways to teach. This kind of re- educational benefits in these open designs,
school design process. In fact, parents have spectful, productive communication is likely their potential never was realized because
perhaps been the most underutilized to produce new ideas about school design, they were developed apart from their
resource in American education. Three empowering parents to become staunch users. Changing the configuration of the
decades of research has established allies as well as valuable contributors. learning environment without changing the
unequivocally that parental engagement In addition, parents' needs historically practices of teachers and learners is like
has a significant, positive influence on stu- have not been reflected in the design of changing one half of an equation without
dents' academic achievement, behavior in school buildings. There should be places the other: The result is imbalance. With
school, and attitudes about school and for parents to park their cars and hang open-plan schools, balance often was
work.Yet too often parents are not included their coats, small group areas for meeting restored at considerable expense by modi-
as essential partners in the education of with teachers and staff, and workspaces for fying the facilities rather than changing
their children. Clearly, parents have a vested parents to use computers or make phone instructional practices.
interest in decisions about all aspects of calls. Some recent school designs have In recent years, many school architects
schooling, not the least of which are deci- gone beyond these minimal accommoda- have assumed that teachers would continue
sions about where their sons and daugh- tions to incorporate parent centers within to teach as they have for 30 years, organiz-
ters will spend their days. They deserve a the building complex, thereby signaling to ing instruction by department.The typical
place at the table from the outset of any parents that the schoolhouse is their result has been self-contained classroom
planning activity. house. They are not only welcome, but cubicles arranged on facing sides of a
Parent participation can lead to a encouraged, to take an active role in the corridor. Meanwhile, educators have been
greater shared understanding about work of educating students. discovering the benefits of team teaching,
current educational theory and practice. interdisciplinary learning, and block
For some parents, there have been too few scheduling, methods which might benefit
opportunities to interact with schools in STEP 8 from a different kind of classroom
meaningful roles as adults, and their per- arrangement.
spectives on education end up based prin- As educators see how new and evolving
cipally on their own school experiences. technologies can enhance learning, they
The participation of a large contin-
When parents are included in planning as gent of educators in the facilities are abandoning the traditional lecture as
active participants, teachers and adminis- planning process is critical to the the instructional method of choice. More
trators have a chance to talk with them success of any school design. Although the active and effective learning strategies are
about current educational strategies, need for participation may seem obvious, finding favor; these involve students in
cooperative group work, collaborative
We can no longer ignore the leadership capability of teachers—
the largest group of school employees and those closest to the students.
Empowered teachers bring an enormous resource for continually improving schools.
—John L. Brown and Cerylle A. Moffett, The Hero's Journey (Brown 1999)
52 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
Respectful, productive communication among parents and school planners is likely to produce new ideas about school design, empowering
parents to become staunch allies as well as valuable contributors. Photo: Photodisc.
problem solving, and projects requiring experts and primary users, teachers—not produce, businesses have particular needs
knowledge application (Lippman 2002; just school administrators—must take a and unique perspectives. Having businesses
George Lucas Educational Foundation leading role in the process of developing participate in your school’s design process
2003). These approaches significantly facilities plans that support their best tells the community that supporting
affect the kinds of spaces, furniture, and knowledge about learning. schools is good business.
equipment required in a school and cannot During the past decade, many busi-
easily be accommodated by a traditional nesses have spent substantial sums re-
departmentalized, self-contained series of STEP 9 structuring their work environments to
classrooms. reflect the new ways that people work in an
Mismatches between design and use information society. This experience can
can be avoided when educators play a key inform the process of rethinking school
The involvement of corporations,
role in every stage of the facilities planning businesses, and organizations designs. A good example of the exodus
process. Now, when educational practice representing businesses can from old-school business ways was the
involves a wider range of teaching and enhance and legitimize the school departure of Alcoa Aluminum, Inc., from a
learning strategies than ever before, facilities planning process.As primary gleaming tower it owned on Pittsburgh's
providing a place at the table for teachers “customers” for the “products” schools Golden Triangle. The company now is
in particular is critical. As practitioner
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 53
settled in a facilities complex that has a your tasks change during the course of model of the 1950s and 1960s.
radically different workplace design. the day, you move from place to place, Involvement by businesses in the plan-
gravitating naturally to the area where
ning process is not a one-way street,
At Alcoa, private offices and anonymous you can most comfortably perform the
cubicles are a thing of the past. The task at hand (Fandray 1999). benefiting only students and schools.
emphasis now is on equality and ease of Businesses gain from the partnership
communication…. Alcoa’s design phi- Such changes in the design of corporate because educational programs and envi-
losophy is emblematic of a new aware-
America are widespread. Companies as ronments that create better-prepared stu-
ness that the physical nature of the work-
place does affect the way we do busi- diverse as Citibank, Hewlett-Packard, and dents can save them thousands of dollars
ness…. The idea is that we're reducing Boeing are embracing an expanded view of in training costs. Businesses obtain more
the amount of space individuals receive, space as it relates to the work people do. immediate benefits from their involvement
and we're reallocating that space to a
Business leaders can help effect similar in schools as well. The quality of local
much wider variety of places where peo-
ple can interact—break areas, meeting changes in learning environments for schools is an important consideration for
areas, team areas, and so on. The indi- students by helping communities to potential employees as they consider
vidual workstation, then, becomes little perceive and understand the work world. It whether to relocate in order to accept a job
more than a place to hang your hat.As
is a world far different from the factory offer. For this reason, employers want high
Because of their sheer numbers, retirees will have great influence on public expenditures in coming years. Community leaders in some areas
are thinking long term, and recognizing that planning and designing new schools as community learning centers provides an opportunity to
forge an intergenerational coalition of support. Photo: Photodisc.
54 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
The schools should be centers of...neighborhoods
and take advantage of library bonds, recreation and park bonds, and health dollars
to serve kids in more efficient and productive ways for the twenty-first century.
—David Abel, Managing Director, New Schools/Better Neighborhoods, Los Angeles California
quality schools in order to attract a high competition would be for community lead- STEP 11
quality workforce (Bond 1998). ers to think long-term and recognize that
With such a vested interest in the planning and designing new schools as
quality of education, business leaders are community learning centers provides an
uniquely positioned to catalyze educational opportunity to forge an intergenerational
and Government Agencies
improvements by taking their place at the coalition of support.
Cultural and civic institutions
table in the school facility planning process. The efforts of school officials to build a
can be important partners in
new school in Gaylord, Michigan, is a case
planning school facilities.
in point (see Case Study 1). After senior
When organizations such as museums,
STEP 10 citizens there had helped to defeat two
libraries, zoos, parks, and hospitals join
bond referendums for a new school, school
Involving Senior Citizens forces with schools, a community can
and community leaders began a community
leverage these resources to enhance
planning process that for the first time
The design and planning of student learning. The partnerships foster
new schools should reflect included them. Seniors were particularly
connections that increase institutional
two new realities: the need eager for Gaylord to have a performing arts
support at many levels.
for life-long learning to keep citizens center. The decision by school officials to
The Henry Ford Academy in Dearborn,
employed, productive, and engaged, and incorporate a performing arts center into
Michigan (see Case Study 11), exemplifies
the coming demographic change, as the the new school was a key factor in winning
such a partnership. It has enjoyed wide-
baby boom generation begins to retire. the public support to pass the bond the
ranging benefits, including significant sav-
Beginning in 2011, the first wave of the 80 third time it was presented.
ings in capital costs through the mutual
million Americans born between 1946 and There are many reasons why senior
use of existing facilities. Minnesota's
1964 will retire. The number of citizens citizens should be involved in the planning
School of Environmental Studies (see Case
over age 65 will more than double from 30 process and why new schools should be
Study 13) illustrates another creative use of
million to 70 million over the next 25 years built with senior citizens in mind. Ending
community resources. It was built on zoo
(Sullivan 2002). the unhealthy age segregation that pervades
grounds through a partnership among
Because of their sheer numbers, American society and giving students more
Independent School District 196, the city
retirees will have great influence on public adult connections is one reason to involve
of Apple Valley, and the Minnesota Zoo.
expenditures. Concerns about the rising seniors. Keeping seniors healthy and active
Each of the 400 students at this alternative
costs of health care could lead to competi- is another.“It makes little sense for public
high school has his or her own computer
tion for scarce public dollars. Senior citi- officials to spend millions of taxpayer
work station, is a member of a ten-person
zens whose children are grown may see dollars to build state-of-the-art schools with
team, and conducts projects using the zoo as
little reason to support bond issues for computer labs, gyms, swimming pools, and
a living laboratory.
school construction when they are more other recreational facilities for students,
In other communities across the country,
concerned about health care expenses. then deny their use to community residents,
school-to-work programs have created
An alternative to this scenario of including seniors, because they are not
opportunities for students to apply their
school age” (Sullivan 2002).
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 55
When you feel you have a stake in your school, whether you're a teacher or a student or a parent,
you're willing to work harder, make sacrifices, and protect and build up your highly personal investment.
—Seymour Fliegel and James MacGuire, Miracle in East Harlem: The Fight for Choice in Public Education (Fliegel 1993)
learning in government, recreation, health- the importance of the relationship among sessions. In others, the board may appoint
care, and other community settings. By shift- school officials, law enforcement, and com- a liaison to the steering committee or
ing appropriate programs off-site, the school munity safety personnel as well as the choose to hear only periodic progress
districts in these communities have been correlation between school design and reports and wait to act upon recommenda-
able to increase their capacity significantly. effective security. The eyes and ears of tions from the committee.
Such joint ventures can lead to more professionals specifically trained to notice Whatever involvement it chooses, the
intelligent and efficient use of dollars, space, safety features can be invaluable to the school board's attention is critical and
personnel, and expertise. By harnessing a process of designing schools. requires each member to be fully informed
community's resources to a common vision Even when planning and architecture throughout the planning process. To this
for the future—one in which schools play a firms employ their own safety and security end, school board workshops should be
central role, everyone stands to benefit, experts, engaging police and fire officials held at regular intervals to review the
especially young people. makes sense, since they will be charged steering committee's work and consider
In Los Angeles, citizens who have with helping maintain school and student policy and budget issues related to the
formed the organization New Schools/ safety long after the planners and archi- committee's goals and recommendations.
Better Neighborhoods recognize the power tects have completed their work. As with the school board, the superin-
of such an approach: tendent and other school district officials
have critical leadership functions to fulfill.
All levels of government should work
together to build the best schools in STEP 12 Unlike board members, district officials
the best locations that we can— cannot chose whether to be actively
coordinating our efforts and leveraging
engaged in the facilities planning process;
our resources to make our school sites the School Board and their involvement is vital. They must be
not only centers for education, but for District Administration
reading and research as libraries, for skilled listeners and articulate communi-
health care as clinics, and as epicenters cators. They must be facilitators of under-
The sanction of the school
of civic life in their communities. standing and disseminators of informa-
board is vital to the success of
—Zev Yaroslavsky, tion. They must be effective consensus
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, any school facilities planning
Los Angeles, California
builders and good decision makers. They
process. Board members can use their
must be able to empower others and use
power and influence to bring the right
Law enforcement and fire departments are their own power wisely. Most importantly,
players to the table, create the best possible
two additional government entities that they must be willing and able to serve as
conditions for action, and leverage the
need to be included in the school facilities stewards of a collective vision and to be
necessary resources to support the plan-
design process from the outset. Too often visionaries themselves.
in the past, local police and fire officials
The school board's involvement will
have been brought in for oversight and
vary from one community to the next. In
building permitting only after the design
some cases, a board member may become
process was well under way. Lessons from
active on the core planning team and
incidents of campus violence underscore
participate in all steering committee
56 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
Developing and Implementing a Master Plan
STEPS 13 THROUGH 19
Once the organizational preliminaries and district’s educational needs and resources, master plan and include suggestions for
community liaison considerations have and then articulate their agreements as a implementation. These activities are dis-
been completed, the real work of developing set of statements known as shared beliefs. cussed in the following pages as Steps 13
a school facilities master plan begins. Taken together, the common understand- through 19.
Throughout this process, the steering ings and shared beliefs comprise a collec- It is tempting to portray the facilities
committee will typically meet once a tive vision that addresses the question, planning process as simple and straightfor-
month in a comfortable space large enough “What will our educational system look ward, but that would be misleading. The
for the whole group, followed by break-out like in the future?” process may prove at times to be challenging
sessions. The steering committee will also develop and time-consuming because it involves
As meetings progress, participants will a list of facilities needs, make specific many people and diverse opinions. The end
complete several work products. They will recommendations, and seek community result, however, will be a purposeful plan for
amass a common understanding of the consensus. Finally, it will write a facilities the future of the school district.
As the facilities planning process moves forward, the steering committee will typically present overviews and findings to the whole planning
group. The small-group break-out sessions that follow afford an opportunity for each person’s opinions and creative ideas to be heard and
considered. Photo: Photodisc.
PART ONE: THE CHALLENGE 57
STEP 13 Participants can begin by studying com- data, the committee will be able to create a
munity demographic studies, summaries school and community profile that
of student achievement data, and district- includes general characteristics, strengths,
wide strategic plans. They can review base limitations, and emerging issues.
Beliefs, and a Collective documents that govern the education of While developing the knowledge base,
Vision their young people, including learning the steering committee should consider
goals, graduation requirements and state not only present conditions, but future pos-
The steering committee’s
and national standards. This is also a good sibilities. This will require examination of
first task is to develop a
opportunity to survey the attitudes and current research and best practices in three
common knowledge base.
perspectives of the community. Using such areas: effective schools and instructional
The collective vision of citizens in San Diego’s City Heights area has resulted in a comprehensive approach to community redevelopment. This
community center is part of a 30-acre “urban village” that includes residential housing, a continuing education center, a Head Start facility, a
library, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a performance annex, and recreational fields. Three schools are an integral part of the effort; see Case
Study 4. Photo: Joseph Martinez, courtesy of Martinez+Cutri Architects.
58 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
practices; the implication of future trends needs. Their purposes will be better served a “future focus” by reviewing:
for students; and changing expectations in in the long run, however, if they take time • Current research and best practices
the workplace. The committee may also to agree upon some conclusions regarding on effective schools
profit from visiting other facilities in the knowledge base. Such conclusions • Future trends and potential impli-
school districts where educators and citi- should result in written statements of cations for students, schools, and
zens have reinvented their institutions to shared beliefs, which can be reviewed by communities
meet changing societal needs. the larger community. These statements • Changing workplace needs and
The time spent developing a future form the foundation for the committee’s expectations
focus is essential. Otherwise, analysis of collective vision of the kind of educational • Innovative models from other
existing conditions may bog down in system they want for their community. districts and communities
entrenched ideas. When the operable The importance of putting into writing
Develop statements of shared belief
assumption is that new or renovated such a collective vision cannot be over-
about education and the role of schools
spaces will be used in the same ways that emphasized. The existence of this docu- in the community. Begin with the six
spaces have been used in the past, facilities ment will help to ensure that the final design principles presented in this book
planning tends to focus more on structural school facilities plan is customized to and consider preparing examples of
requirements, code compliance, and mech- address specific identified goals, rather more concise belief statements, such as:
anical systems than on planning for a than being a one-size-fits-all blueprint. • Students need opportunities to
future that includes emerging technologies, Most importantly, by establishing common apply their learning in meaningful
curricular changes, and new strategies for ground at this point in the process, the ways.
educational delivery. steering committee members pave the way • Positive relationships are key to good
As the knowledge base is being devel- for the kind of respectful discussion and learning and strong communities.
oped, two effective information-sharing collaborative problem solving that will be • All members of the community
techniques for the committee are large- required to successfully complete the facili- need access to technological tools for
group presentations and small-group ties master planning process. learning.
discussions. Large-group presentations • The community is a critical educa-
STEP 13 ACTION CHECKLIST:
offer an efficient means for exploring tional partner.
BUILDING COMMON UNDERSTANDING,
current research and best practices, while
SHARED BELIEFS, AND • To be successful in the workplace,
the small-group break-outs provide an students must be both self-directed
A COLLECTIVE VISION
opportunity for each person’s opinions and workers and good team members.
creative ideas to be heard and considered. Develop a common understanding • Lifelong learning is a desired and
The facilitator plays an important organi- and clear picture about current condi- necessary strategy for survival in
zational role. He or she assembles impor- tions by reviewing: today's world.
tant information for the larger group to • Community demographic studies
Craft a collective vision that reflects
review, arranging for presentations by such
• District-wide strategic or facilities shared beliefs, and put this collective
professional advisors as architects, school plans vision into writing. As a group, answer
planners, curriculum designers, and other
• Learning goals, student achieve- this question: What will our educational
specialists; he or she also fosters condi- system look like when we “get there”?
ment data, and graduation
tions that encourage meaningful small- requirements
group information exchange.
• State and national standards
Once satisfied that the knowledge base
• Community attitudes and
has been established, steering committee
members may be tempted to begin brain-
storming and making lists of facilities Consider “what could be” and develop
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 59
STEP 14 community—then other needs will Opposite: Steering committee members
need to think outside the box as they
Determining identify potential resources. Schools have
partnered with such local organizations as
Educational Needs We assumed at the beginning of our zoos, parks, museums, and recreation
steering committee meetings that high centers to expand the educational experi-
ence. Photo: Digital Vision.
schools were for high school students
Once the collective vision has
and teachers. But as we began to edu-
been successfully written, cate ourselves, we learned that our
steering committee members facility could be designed for the whole
STEP 14 ACTION CHECKLIST:
will be ready—and probably eager—to community, not just the students, to
use. Before long, we were talking with a DETERMINING
draft a wish list. For such a list to advance
local group that was trying to raise EDUCATIONAL NEEDS
the planning process, it must be framed in money for a performing arts center but
terms of facilities needs. The list should be was far from reaching their goal. They Starting with shared beliefs and a
thoughtful, strategic, and focused on the loved the idea of joining forces with the collective vision, develop a list of
future. high school to become a community
facilities needs. To guide this process,
center. Other members of the commu-
Facilities needs, of course, can be wide- nity were interested in trying to find a consider the following questions: What
ranging. They can encompass issues as place to hold community meetings. will we need to do to enact our beliefs
simple as air conditioning in every class- With the community and the high about schooling and our vision of
room, or as ambitious as elementary school collaborating in this new way, we schools? What kinds of facilities will we
were able to win state funds for a per- need to accomplish these activities?
schools with no more than 300 students. forming arts council. Eventually we
What kinds of learning environments
An imperative goal at this point is built our school and our new “town
will we need to:
making sure that the facilities needs listed square.” It includes a performing arts
by the steering committee are consistent center and a community meeting hall • Help students see links between
for weddings and meetings and—you school and the rest of their lives
with the written statements of shared belief name it. The kids say they like having
that the committee drafted in Step 13 of • Increase parent and community
more grown-ups around.
participation in schools
this process. —Rilla Wiley, Steering Committee Member,
For instance, if the steering committee Tishomingo County, Mississippi • Improve coordination among schools
has written as one of its shared beliefs that and other social service agencies
students “need opportunities to engage in When schools are envisioned as centers for • Provide stimulating, lifelong
project-based learning and to work in the entire community, a whole range of educational opportunities
teams,” then spaces other than the typical possibilities emerges, along with new sets
When developing the list of needs,
900-square-foot lecture classrooms will be of needs. If, for instance, the steering com-
think both specifically and collectively.
required. If a shared belief has stated that mittee’s collective vision calls for schools Consider the needs of specific groups,
“the most effective schools embody a that are “a resource for lifelong learning”— such as students or parents or the busi-
strong culture of personalization,” then for retraining dislocated workers, teaching ness sector. At the same time, consider
more configurations that serve small computer skills to seniors, teaching fami- the collective needs of the whole
groups will have to be designed. If a shared lies to use the internet, or any number of community.
belief has stated that “parent involvement other community learning endeavors—
Frame the list of needs in language
on school campuses is important,” then then school facilities will need to be open that directly links them to your shared
schools will need spaces for parents to beyond conventional school hours. beliefs and collective vision.
park their cars, hang their coats, meet with When listing facilities needs, the steering
teachers, or help with school activities. If a committee should think globally about
shared belief has stated that “schools conditions within the community, and
should be centers of learning for the whole specifically about conditions in classrooms
community”—as it did in one Mississippi and schools.
60 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
STEP 15 community, the steering committee can con- both communities and students in more
sult everything from the Yellow Pages to real efficient and productive ways. Still others
estate listings, calendars of cultural activi- have explored creative leasing, shared- and
ties, and directories of local businesses. multiple-use agreements, interagency
At the same time the steering
committee is analyzing facility When teachers, students, parents, and busi- contracts, or revenue-generating projects.
needs, it should also be con- ness representatives work together to dis- In his exploration of the hidden assets
sidering resources available to meet those cover and identify community assets, they of Los Angeles, UCLA Professor Richard
needs. Many such resources will already be not only increase their personal under- Weinstein illustrates such outside-the-box
on hand at existing schools. Others may standing but help develop a valuable public thinking about opportunities for joint use:
be located within the larger community. It is knowledge base about the community.
Some of the biggest holes in the fabric
important that the steering committee con- Steering committee members need to of the city are supermarket and shop-
sider both internal and external resources think outside the box as they identify ping mall parking lots, which rank high
potential resources. Examples abound of on the mess list. The air rights over
as potential solutions.
parking lots could be acquired for
To identify resources at existing instances where unconventional thinking
schools, community centers, and addi-
school sites, the steering committee should has yielded creative solutions. Some school tional parking. The commercial enter-
review the district's facilities evaluation districts have financed projects through prises would be advantaged, day-care
private-sector investment—or public- and other services provided, and the
report, if such a document is available. If
urban design of the area improved.
not, the committee should consider con- private partnership—when traditional
Joint development of this sort should
ducting such an evaluation itself (a time- methods of funding like local property be encouraged from the start where
consuming endeavor) or commissioning taxes have proved ineffective or insuffi- thoughtful design can solve the addi-
cient. Others have learned how to take tional density resulting from mixed
experts to do so.
commercial and educational uses.
To identify resources within the larger advantage of library bonds, recreation and
park bonds, and health dollars to serve
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 61
STEP 15 ACTION CHECKLIST: said “students need opportunities to Check steering committee recommen-
IDENTIFYING RESOURCES engage in project-based learning and work dations to ensure that they are specific
in teams,” and the collective vision called and consistent with the collective vision.
Review the school district’s facilities Assess whether they harness resources in
for “spaces different from existing tradi-
evaluation report, if one exists, or the best way to meet community needs.
tional classrooms,” the resulting recom-
consider commissioning one, to identify
mendation might specify “remodeling Compile facilities recommendations
resources available at existing school
existing classrooms to include additional into a report that can be easily under-
square footage, more storage, and appro- stood and readily shared.
Identify other significant private
priate utilities.” As another example, if the
or public resources. To guide the
committee has listed the need for a com-
discovery process, consider the following
munity performing arts center and identi- STEP 17
questions: What kinds of support for
fied a school space that could be modified Communicating
learning do students receive beyond the
to meet this need, the specific recommen-
classroom and school? What community with the Larger Community
resources are available that might be dation might be to “remodel the school's
performing arts facility to provide direct
employed to support the school district The steering committee
and its students? street access, appropriate security, and should have maintained open
adequate parking.” communications about the
Identify and create a list of the
The best recommendations will be facilities planning process throughout its
community's available resources.
specific and creative, they will refer to one duration.
Consider and explore innovative
or more of the steering committee's shared Once the recommendations report has
partnerships, creative financing, and
beliefs, and they will be consistent with the been issued, however, the steering committee
collective vision. Recommendations may will need to embark upon a deliberate and
also be prioritized at this point and should strategic effort to publicize the report’s
take the form of a report. contents and rationale. The goal of this
publicity is to foster community under-
STEP 16 ACTION CHECKLIST:
Developing standing of the recommendations, solicit
Recommendations STEERING COMMITTEE
feedback about them, and build community
After the steering committee Steering committee recommendations
has identified facilities needs Develop a list of recommendations should be communicated in ways that are
and identified available that is consistent with the knowledge easy to understand and readily accessible.
resources, its next task is to prepare written base, shared beliefs, facilities needs, and News releases, newspaper articles, radio
facilities recommendations that match identified resources. spots and television features can be used
available resources to identified needs. for getting the word out. Creative publicity
In developing recommendations,
Guiding questions for this phase of the ideas are in order. In Puyallup, Washington,
consider these questions: How can the
work include: How can the school district school district and community work for example, the school facilities steering
and community work together most effec- together most effectively to address committee decided to publish Building
tively to realize their collective vision for limitations and areas of need to realize Traditions, a quarterly newsletter explicitly
schools? In what ways can the school their collective vision for schools? In for this purpose.
district and community combine forces to what ways can the school district and A plan for working with the local media
build on their strengths? community combine forces to build
is a good idea and should acknowledge
To revisit an example cited in Step 14, upon their strengths?
that media interest depends on newswor-
if the steering committee’s stated belief thiness and understandability. Research
62 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
and recommendations can be brought to mindful that communication with the decision points and bring back to steering
life with examples and anecdotes. A public at this point is intended as a two-way committee meetings community input. In
trained communications consultant can street: Part of the purpose is solicitation of addition, the steering committee can hold
help to package steering committee infor- community feedback. To facilitate two-way workshops with the school board or indi-
mation into engaging media messages. communication, committee members must vidual school site councils, host coffee
The steering committee should remain report to their constituencies at critical hours or town meetings, conduct surveys
at shopping malls, implement phone trees,
create speakers bureaus, and develop its
own website and listserv.
Whatever outreach methods it employs,
the steering committee should strive for a
communications process that deals with
community opinion and feedback respect-
fully, openly, and honestly. Putting the
Pieces Together recommends four proactive
efforts for ensuring such productive
communication and for helping to build
productive partnerships (U.S. Department
of Education and the Regional Educational
Laboratory Network 1996):
• Reach out to your critics by inviting
them to see a new program, listening to
their concerns, and providing opportu-
nities for them to contribute.
• Develop good written communica-
tions, such as a low-cost newsletter
widely distributed throughout the
• Keep participants and local leaders
informed by hosting an open house or
• Share the bottom line to show
that collaborative programs are cost
effective and get results.
Once the recommendations report has been
issued, the steering committee will need to
embark upon a deliberate and strategic
effort to publicize the report’s contents and
rationale. The goal of this publicity is to
foster community understanding of the
recommendations, solicit feedback about
them, and build community consensus.
Photo: Brand X Pictures.
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 63
STEP 17 ACTION CHECKLIST: STEP 18 this information—along with work prod-
COMMUNICATING ucts from Steps 13 through 17—into one
WITH THE LARGER COMMUNITY
Creating a Master Plan
document, the final facilities master plan.
Preparation of the final document may
Establish a comprehensive communi-
The facilities master plan is
the culmination of all the require the aid of school district officials or
cations plan for disseminating and
steps that have come before. school planning consultants, along with
Before compiling the work products good editorial, graphic design, and printing
Consider creating a special steering
generated by Steps 13 through 17, however, support.Various feasibility, cost, and other
committee newsletter or publishing
the steering committee must carefully studies may be needed to supplement the
regular updates in existing district and
assess community feedback received master plan. These are normally prepared
during Step 17 and make any adjustments by school district officials, appropriate gov-
Decide how to involve the local ernmental agencies, or school planning
to the plan that it deems appropriate.
media (newspaper, radio, community consultants.
That done, the committee should define
websites, and television).
action steps, determine timelines, and Ultimately, the completed facilities
Make sure outreach efforts are assign responsibilities for achieving its master plan should be submitted to the
inclusive enough to encompass a broad recommendations. It should then prioritize school board for approval.
spectrum of stakeholders. Use such Then the steering committee should
the recommendations, if this was not done
strategies as conducting workshops, take time to celebrate its accomplishments!
during Step 16.
hosting coffee hours, convening town
Finally, the committee should compile
meetings, conducting surveys in public
places, implementing phone trees,
creating speakers' bureaus, and hosting
a special website or listserv.
Develop a system for listening,
recording, and responding to people's
Consider engaging the services of
a media consultant to manage the
communications aspect of the planning
Keep in mind that the three primary
purposes of any communications plan
should be to create common understand-
ing, gather feedback to help identify
further improvement opportunities, and
build community consensus.
The completion and approval of a master
plan will normally lead to the preparation of
educational specifications, a final architec-
tural design, and construction plans and
specifications. The process of community
engagement should continue at each step.
64 SCHOOLS AS CENTERS OF COMMUNITY: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN
STEP 18 ACTION CHECKLIST: Recognizing that it will take months or helping to devise creative solutions and
CREATING A MASTER PLAN years before construction work is completed, moving the construction project to
many steering committees choose to stay in completion.
Based upon the feedback received
place throughout the process.When they do, When occupancy of the completed
during the communications phase, make
their focus will naturally shift to the new project has been achieved at last, the steer-
necessary modifications to steering
and equally critical tasks of tracking ing committee should undertake one more
progress and assisting the school board in task: a retrospective examination of the
Priority rank the recommendations.
its implementation tasks. This is what hap- planning process. It should assess to what
Identify action steps and determine pened in Lincoln, California: extent the planning process has strength-
timelines, resources, and the assignment ened the community, wisely allocated
We knew it would take years to imple-
of responsibilities for achieving resources, and positively affected teaching
ment every recommendation on the
recommendations. master plan.... We decided to incorpo- and learning. Those engaged in planning
rate as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organ- have too often failed to address this
Draft a master plan.
ization. Before long, a local developer
question: What specific benefits resulted
Submit the master plan to the school gave us a parcel of 179 acres of land
worth about $1.8 million dollars. Next from the actions that were taken and the
district or other appropriate agencies
week we will hold a groundbreaking dollars that were spent?
for supplementary feasibility, cost, or
ceremony for an Outdoor Learning By documenting results, the steering
Environment (OLE) on that land, which
committee can evaluate its efforts, demon-
Edit the master plan and prepare it includes a Native American archeo-
logical site. We also have plans to strate accountability, and add to a growing
expand arts in the schools and child- body of knowledge that connects the facilities
Present the finalized master plan to care before and after school. We have planning process to favorable academic
the school board for approval. set up a subcommittee to focus on
outcomes and community growth.
grant writing to support these new
Celebrate the completion of a major ideas. Our job is to serve as community
STEP 19 ACTION CHECKLIST:
milestone in the planning process. support group for the school board.
Through our “Project Build” master IMPLEMENTING
planning process, we have developed a THE MASTER PLAN
deeper level of trust and empowered
STEP 19 each other to make things happen. We Determine how to maintain the
haven't abandoned our existing schools
Implementing just yet, but our plan is to keep the
community’s interest in bringing about
faithful implementation of the master plan.
the Master Plan planning process alive and continue to
search for opportunities to integrate Discuss with steering committee
our learning with the world around us.
Completing a master plan is a members what they might do during
cause for celebration because —Joanne Neft, President, the implementation phase, such as sup-
Western Placer Education Foundation,
the steering committee has port a bond campaign, develop school-
Western Placer School District,
accomplished its primary mission. Lincoln, California community partnerships, or participate
But implementing the plan—moving in an ongoing oversight effort.
from vision to action—will be its true test. Provided that funding is in place to imple-
Develop ways to assess the effect of
Exciting plans are not enough. The hard ment the community’s vision, the comple- the planning on academic outcomes,
work of the master plan will not be benefi- tion and approval of a master plan will resource allocation, and community
cial unless the plan is implemented. normally lead to the preparation of educa- growth.
Everyone involved in the planning process tional specifications, a final architectural
Give the plan time. Remember that
must understand that implementation design, and construction plans and specifi-
implementation will not happen
requires time, commitment, and oversight. cations. The process of community
engagement should continue at each step,
PART FOUR: MAKING IT HAPPEN 65