School facility design characteristics supporting California Schools to Watch(TM)---Taking Center Stage middle schools: Perceptions of middle school principals and teachers

by Mason, Laura Deane, Ed.D., UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE, 2008, 334 pages; 3338009


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to identify design characteristics present in Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage middle school facilities. Additionally, the purpose was to describe design characteristics perceived by middle school principals and teachers as supporting the implementation of high-performing middle school components of academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes.

Methodology. The research design used in this study was a descriptive qualitative case study. The subjects were 10 principals and 20 teachers from 10 STW-TCS schools located throughout California. The researcher collected data through semistructured interviews and a facility assessment instrument.

Findings. (1) Technology access for students was identified as supporting academic excellence and social equity. (2) Technology for teachers was identified as supporting academic excellence and social equity. (3) There was a need for a variety of small-to-large meeting spaces for students and staff. (4) Multifunctionality of school facilities supports a variety of student and staff activities. (5) Technology for students and teachers, instructional neighborhoods, and multifunctionality of the facility were identified as best supporting high-performing schools. (6) Principals and teachers worked with, around, or in spite of the facility. (7) Participants agreed on 42 out of 49 design characteristics. (8) Multipurpose rooms were found at all 10 schools and used for a variety of functions.

Conclusions. (1) While technology supported students, there was limited technological access in the classrooms. (2) Design characteristics: technology for students, technology for teachers, instructional neighborhoods, and multifunctionality of the facility need to be a top priority when building new, or modernizing existing middle schools. (3) Principals and teachers must be involved in the design process when building new middle schools or modernizing existing schools.

Recommendations. (1) A facility design assessment should be completed as part of the Schools to Watch™ Taking Center Stage designation process. (2) Provisions for accessible technology in classrooms need to be a high priority. (3) Characteristics identified in this study may be used as a guide when designing and building new middle school facilities. (4) Involve principals and teachers when designing new middle schools. (5) Middle school facilities need to be flexible and adaptable.

AdviserJanice Heffron
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducational administration; Secondary education; Architecture
Publication Number3338009

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