For its Innovation project, Birch Elementary created a unique learning commons area that can facilitate both large and small group activities. In addition, the school acquired new furniture for all of its classrooms, with mobile desks and chairs that can accommodate a variety of learning situations and projects. BVSD's Innovation Guiding Principle: "Mastery of Learning is Demonstrated in Multiple Ways" was the foundation for the design.

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 Bulldog Website

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 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.

We would like to look at utilizing our cafeteria throughout the day in multiple ways. Currently the space is
only used between 10:30­12:45. We would like to expand the use of that space throughout the day as we
have some challenges with space at Birch. Converting the space into more of a "cafe" type space will help
us to use the space more efficiently. In order to help us accomplish this, we would like to look into flexible
and mobile furniture options that would support this need.

We would also like to consider how we might replace some of our current classroom furniture with new,
innovative furniture that allows for more movement and versatility for kids. We are searching for options that
are multi­functional (white boards on tables, for example) and easy to move. This would be a school wide
project that would allow us to provide learning environments for students that support a variety of learning

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

We established an Innovation Committee that is comprised of primary teachers, intermediate teachers,
specialists, librarian and the principal. We also had our Design Advisory Team (DAT) involved in the design of the 4th/5th grade space that is part of our bond work.

The school has worked with BVSD Innovation staff for the last 7 months on these projects.
The Innovation Director spoke to our DAT at the beginning of the year, and the Director of Facilities Planning visited twice; once with all of our staff and once with our Innovation Committee.

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

For the cafeteria project/classroom project: These projects will help support district goal #1 in meeting the
unique needs of each student. It will provide students with an opportunity to have a variety of sitting and
standing options that support individual learning needs.

These projects also support goal 2 by providing specific environments that support physical needs for
elementary aged students.

The cafeteria project will also help support an environment where students can collaborate and engage in a
welcoming, supportive environment that meets the needs of each student. This is in alignment to goal #3 of
The Success Effect.

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

This environment will support the Innovation Guiding Principle of "Mastery of Learning is demonstrated in multiple ways". The flexibility and versatility of the space will allow for students to demonstrate their learning in multiple modalities outside of the traditional teacher delivered instruction. 

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

1) Students will articulate an awareness of their learning needs(2d). 

2) Teachers allow for a lesson structure with different pathways to learning outcomes according to student needs (3b). 

3) Teachers develop student learning plans based on multiple examples of student work and information gathered from students, families and significant adults, and colleagues for unique student needs and situations(4a). 

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?

Quantitative measure: Educator Effectiveness Data on standards 2d, 3b, and 4a . We will also collect data on how often the cafe space is used outside of lunch hours. Qualitative data: Teacher surveys, student surveys (pre/post questions from last year to this year). Optional parent parent survey. We will also collect examples of student work and use video/photos to document impact of the space.

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

This is a really important part of the plans. Teachers will need to understand how to use the space and the common areas. This learning could happen online and throughout the school year. We are currently planning on ways that we can engage in professional development around using Design Thinking in classrooms. We are working on scheduling with CEI for this training in August during pre­service PD days.