Aspen Creek K-8's project consists of the creation of three new innovative learning environments as well as other improvements throughout the building. The project aligns with four of BVSD's six Innovation Guiding Principles: Learning is a Social Process, Learning Fosters a Culture of Curiosity and Risk Taking, Mastery of Learning is Demonstrated in Multiple Ways, and Learning is Personalized and Learner Led.

Results - Impact on Learning

During the first school year, the new space was used, educators were asked to monitor and track growth towards the outcomes identified in their project plan and present the findings in a digital story.  The story was framed by the question, "How is innovation shifting the story of learning at our school?" 

Project Photos

Project Description

To develop the school's project, staff worked together to develop responses to the following guiding questions. 

1. Briefly describe the project that you plan to implement with your Innovation Funds.

Library Renovation

A) The original elementary computer lab space downstairs will be redesigned to create a core learning space for all students across our K-8 that will invite large group presentations, classroom experiences, and small group work teams in the midst of the library space. This inviting, inclusive space will be open to multiple grades in order to foster connection between classes as well as across the middle-level content areas. The goal here is to foster a sense of community in our larger PK-8 with the focus and goal of inspiring curious life-long learners from the library. This space will offer flexible stadium seating configurations for grade level town hall meetings, the opportunity to host full classes in the space, and technology to support both student-led and teacher-led presentations. as well as transform into a collaborative area that supports informal, spontaneous learning.

B) We will install additional technology in one of the current small spaces to support video production.

C) Improving the flexible use of the space, one of the rooms off the library will be redesigned to support the flow of adult collaboration and work into the student space. Improved sight-lines, supervision, and the opportunity for adult and student groups to have refreshments near but not actually inside the library will allow for additional flexible use of the space by both student and adult learners. 

Core Tech Renovation
The Core Tech areas in the elementary wing are prime areas to support differentiated learning for students. 
The hooks and cubbies will be moved to the main corridors and the result in the Core Tech will be a larger, 
flexible space that can be used by full grade levels, mixed learning communities, small groups, and individual students. Additionally, the space will house new shelving for book and instrument storage that will be covered by moving whiteboard walls. Projection in two parts of the core tech will be possible to support the work of students and teachers. 

Upstairs Computer Lab Renovation
We are deconstructing our upstairs computer lab to make it a workable space for students. It will be redesigned to create a core learning space for all students across our middle level that will invite large group presentations, classroom experiences, and small group work teams. This space will offer flexible stadium seating configurations for grade level town hall meetings, the opportunity to host full classes in the space, and technology to support both student-led and teacher-led presentations. 

Classroom Furniture 
We want to ensure that our furnishing matches our 21st-century learning and teaching needs. Our intent is to replace all elementary classroom desks, provide more flexible seating for students K-8, and ensure that our new spaces have furniture that offers the opportunity to shift the space depending on the purpose at any given moment. (e.g. fold up tables, nesting tiered seating, soft seating to provide both cave and campfire spaces).

2. How will you involve stakeholders in the decision-making process concerning the use of the innovation funds for your site?  

Our DAT (involving key staff/teacher stakeholders/ parents/ community members) met in the spring, 
summer, and fall of 2016 to brainstorm our “best possible outcomes” for the transformation of our learning spaces with the innovation guiding principles driving our thinking and our decisions. The DAT engaged the full staff for feedback each step along the way. This included the brainstorming of wants and needs and new pedagogical thinking around the Innovation Guiding Principles.

During the fall of 2016, the DAT Teacher leadership took a half day (ie: subs provided) to tour newly created 
Phase 1 schools to glean ideas about space, furniture, and ways to support the students in transitioning their behaviors and ways of being in these new learning spaces. We all used this tour to create a new collective statement about our beliefs about spaces, furniture, and learning. Following this, the entire staff was again engaged in working specifically with the BVSD Innovation Guiding Principles and thinking about their own spaces that were going to shift and change. We wanted to be sure that this work would inspire and enhance the innovative instructional shifts to which we all aspire.

3. How does your project support The Success Effect? (BVSD's Strategic Plan-Mission/Vision/Goals)

Our project will support engaging learning opportunities for all students to thrive. Each space is designed to 
enhance and ensure that every student meets or exceeds appropriate expectations relative to 
intellectual growth, physical development, and social-emotional well-being.

4. Review the Innovation Guiding Principles and discuss with your stakeholders. How will your project align to one or more of the guiding principles?

Library Renovation
  •  Learning is a social process
    • Common spaces for multiple groups working concurrently
    • Common spaces zoned for multiple learning modalities
    • Presentation zones, variety of small group seminar, small group rooms, open commons for large group (multi-group), center for all school gathering
    • Physical and technology structures that are flexible and adaptable
    • FFE supports collaborative group work
    • Connections between classrooms and to common spaces
  • Learning fosters a culture of curiosity and risk taking
    • Experimentation zones/studios - Maker, deconstruction
    • Spaces for curated display for student and teachers to spark curiosity
    • Library transformed to support all aspects of curiosity process
  • Mastery of Learning is Demonstrated in Multiple ways/ Learning is Personalized and Learner Led
    • Opportunities for individuals and classes to present their learning
    • Flexible spaces for students to engage in their learning throughout the library
Core Tech Renovation
  • Mastery of learning is demonstrated in multiple ways/ Learning is personalized and learner led
    • Our project aims to create a dynamic space where students can be intentionally learning and working, resulting in academic growth.
    • Independent work, small group work, cross-graded work
    • A benefit, too, is in using the core tech spaces for small group work for struggling learners (instead of having them go all the way down the hall). This will reduce travel time and increase instruction and practice. 
    • Flexible grouping will provide structures so that students are most productive. Because all students will access the Core Tech spaces, we will increase the feeling of belonging for all students. 
Upstairs Computer Lab Renovation
  • Mastery of learning is demonstrated in multiple ways 
    • This space will be used by small groups of students to show what they know and are able to do as related to grade level curriculum. 
  • Learning fosters a culture and curiosity of risk taking
    • Students in this space will be encouraged to think outside the box and try new ways of learning 
  • Learning is personalized and learner-led
    • The dissolving of this computer lab and moving to additional Chromebooks allows for more flexible use of technology within other classrooms
Classroom Furniture 
  • Learning is personalized and learner-led
    • Students will be encouraged to determine where in the room and in what position they best learn. This will include flexible seating of varied heights and the encouragement of more movement in the classroom.

5. Determine what your learning outcomes are for your innovation. What will happen as a result of this innovation?

Library Renovation
  • Collaborative activities with colleagues to improve teacher working and student learning conditions through shared decision making. Educators will share ideas to improve teaching and learning.
  • Students will apply what they are learning in class to inspire curiosity and pose questions about their world. 
Core Tech Renovation
  • Student learning needs will be met at a high level. Teachers will have ease of space for differentiation. Students will be able to show what they know and are able to do in multiple ways.
Upstairs Computer Lab Renovation
  • Student learning needs will be met at a high level. Teachers will have ease of space for differentiation. Students will be able to show what they know and are able to do in multiple ways.
Classroom Furniture 
  • The core idea here is that engagement increases when humans are comfortable in their surroundings. All learning outcomes will increase!

6. Determine how you will measure the progress towards and achievement of your learning outcome. What is your plan for gathering data to show that the change is positively impacting learning at your site?

Students and teachers will be asked common questions about the changes in the Library/ Think Tank and Learning Dens.  These answers will be collected and published.

Students and teachers will participate in a focus group about the Distance Learning Lab.  The results will be shared via video and published statements.

Teachers will be asked about shifts in teaching practice that have been made possible by innovation funding (both space renovation and new furniture).  These answers will be collected and published.

7. What professional learning and support might your staff might need in order to reach the desired learning outcomes for the space?

Library Renovation
  • Asking teachers to reflect on their philosophies of teaching and learning. Encourage ways to be more collaborative with each other.
  • Professional development in student-based inquiry learning with effective teacher practices.
  • Focus on teachers prioritizing cross grade level and content area collaboration as part of professional goals. Staff meetings and collaboration time should be used as much as possible to allow “teacher talk” and oracy.
  • Not view only these spaces as the places where innovative learning happens, but rather a catalyst for all learning -- it enhances what we are going to do in our classroom.
  • See the spaces as an extension of the classrooms, not just a destination
Core Tech and Upstairs Computer Lab:
  • Teachers may need support to help coach students how to use the space (e.g. Habits of Scholarship from Summit)
  • For teachers and students, a continued revisiting of our technology expectations for acceptable use.
  • Professional development regarding project-based learning, flexible grouping, differentiation, and removing barriers to technology.
  • Core Tech only: new system for assigning coat hooks and expectations around “stuff”
Classroom Furniture:
  • Collaboration around differentiated spaces (and therefore differentiated furniture). Suggestions for classroom management around seating charts. How best to utilize ‘special’ furniture pieces (e.g. standing desks, Hokki Stools, etc.)