The Eldorado K-8 Innovation project includes two components: a middle-level hub and a Library Heartcenter. The ML hub will be a combination of small group workstations, a tech bar for students to access their digital devices in a convenient manner, and a larger “mid-room” space to facilitate mini-lessons and presentations by both teachers and students. The original elementary computer lab space downstairs will also be redesigned to create a “core learning space” for all students across our K-8 that will invite large group presentations, small group work teams and a warm “heart center” in the midst of the library space. The project aligns with three of BVSD's six Innovation Guiding Principles: Learning is a Social Process, Learning Fosters a Culture of Curiosity and Risk Taking, 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.

Our project consists of the creation of two innovative learning environments:

ML Hub:  We have deconstructed the ML computer lab space and created an open “ML learning space” or “ML Hub” for students and staff/teachers to access throughout the learning day.  As it stands now, the ML students and teachers do not have a collaborative learning space in existence to promote an efficient way to structure flexible group learning conversations and multiple modalities of learning.  This space will be a combination of small group workstations, a tech bar for students to access their digital devices in a convenient manner, and a larger “mid-room” space to facilitate mini-lessons and presentations by both teachers and students.  The space will also open up into the middle-level hallway to extend the learning space for a larger number of students and will include stadium seating and a large screen TV to visually support student sharing, thinking, and learning.

Library Heartcenter:  The original elementary computer lab space downstairs will also be redesigned to create a “core learning space” for all students across our K-8 that will invite large group presentations, small group work teams and a warm “heart center” 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 K-8 with the focus and goal of inspiring, curious life-long learners from the “heart of the school”, the library.  This space will offer flexible stadium seating configurations for grade level town hall meetings and both student-led and teacher-led presentations as well as transform into a collaborative area that supports informal, spontaneous learning.

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) met in the spring of 2016 (i.e.: mornings and after school) to brainstorm our “best possible outcomes” for the transformation of our learning spaces with the innovation guiding principles driving our thinking and our decisions.  In May 2016, the DAT Teacher leadership took a full day (ie: subs provided) to do this brainstorming which resulted in 3 potential action steps.  The teacher group separated into the 3 action teams that best aligned with their personal passions and interests.  Each of the 3 teams created a mini-presentation explaining the purpose of and the rationale for their dream idea.  Each of the 3 teams then presented their ideas to the entire DAT team (including Rob Price).  We then received feedback from the DAT team about each of the 3 ideas (ie: cost, feasibility, etc.)  Before we “paused” for the summer, we narrowed our choices to 2 ideal solutions--one idea to support our ML students/teachers and the other idea to support the entire K-8 community.

When we returned to school in August 2016, we reviewed our decisions from the summer and with the support of our architects, we finalized our decision to move forward with our 2 decisions (ie: ML Hub and Library Heartcenter).

In September, our DAT Teacher Team, along with Kiffany Lychock, went on 3 school tours (ie: Summit, Boulder HS, and SHMS) to look for ideas about spaces, furniture, and ways to support the students in transitioning their behaviors and ways of being in these new learning spaces.  Then we returned back to school to draft up how our vision of our new learning spaces aligned with the our best practice beliefs and the BVSD Innovation Guidelines so that the entire process and “journey” felt meaningful and true to our hearts so that these spaces were not just “an add-on” to our building but a “grass root” movement to 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.  The space will cater to student strengths as they guide some of their own learning through social, personalized inquiry-based experiences.

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

ML Hub:  
Learning is a social process/ Learning is personalized and learner led: Our project aims to create a dynamic space where students can be intentionally social to support academic growth including improving oracy, collaborating productively, and inclusive of all types of learners. We hope to use flexible grouping to provide structures so that students are most productive. There are multiple ways to be social- both digitally and verbally and this would meet both these needs. In this space, students would have access to technology (such as Chromebooks, digital displays, and personal device) to give them access to engaging in social processes digitally.  We hope to create a climate of inclusion, where all students feel like they belong. This will move us away from a teacher-led model of communication and towards a student-led, collaborative model of project-based learning, roundtable discussions, team teaching, distance learning and team collaboration.

Library Heartcenter:
Social Emotional Learning  in addition innovative learning is supported by these spaces:

  • Learning is a social process
    • Commons spaces for multiple groups working concurrently
    • Commons spaces zoned for multiple learning modalities
    • Presentation zones, variety of: small group seminar, small group rooms, open commons for large group (multi-group), heart 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
    • Space for pair and team meeting as well as private work

  • 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

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

ML Hub:  Students
  • Use technology to apply team building and networking skills (3d)
  • Use technology to communicate effectively (3d)

LIbrary Heartcenter
  • Collaborative activities with colleagues to improve teacher working and student learning conditions through shared decision making (5a)  Share ideas to improve teaching and learning (5a)
  • Apply what they are learning in class to inspire curiosity and pose questions about their world (1f)

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?

ML Hub
The number of project-based, collaborative learning experiences increases, as indicated by calendar and teacher feedback. Student/ class use of the space is consistent or even in demand (referencing sign up calendar).  Students anecdotally share that they have a stronger connection to community and classmates because of the Hub space.  This might look like student videos, surveys, interviews, to include embedding the collection of evidence aligned to learning outcomes (i.e.: photography elective class could take photos and videos of the space usage and share the products with the community.)

LIbrary Heartcenter
A survey will be given to students and teachers to assess the level of use of space/furniture/technology (both determined by the number of students/teachers using it and also anecdotal information).  We would also look at how space is used throughout the day by multiple-age groups.

Administer a pre/post climate survey (designed on the principles/learning outcomes) to assess how climate and culture are affected by our new spaces/fixtures/technology.  The survey is given before the build-out and asks for their best ideas and then given again when the ideas are implemented.

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

ML Hub
Teachers may need support to help coach students how to use the space (thinking of Summit’s Habits of Scholarship co-developed with student input.)

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.   

LIbrary Heartcenter

  • 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 teaching 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