“The new configuration of their classroom would bring plenty of layout space, and individual work spaces for each student.” 

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We have learned that the classroom can be deeply impacted by having access to the right space. This is in part because the right space can ensure that students have a quiet place to focus, an active place to collaborate, or an ergonomic and comfortable place to work. Even more important however are our insights on how the wrong space can create barriers to learning.  Back in December of 2015 we shared a story with you titled Students Lead the Way to Innovation at Redwood High. In this blog post we shared how the Editors-in-Chief of the “Redwood Bark” school paper collaborated on creating a solution to change the dynamic of their classroom conditions. Running a school newspaper in a classroom that limited their ability to thrive creatively and work together collaboratively was becoming a challenge. The students were cramped in a space with outdated, oversized furniture which also doubled as a shared space with another full-sized class. With the help of our designer Gabriella Cannon and their Journalism teacher Erin Schneider, the students worked hard to prepare a proposal to their School Board that outlined the importance of them being granted the funds for their classroom remodel. After a carefully thought-out design proposal was submitted along with the students doing a full in person presentation, the 4 Editors-in-Chief successfully secured a Foundation Grant to cover the entire cost of their proposed renovation.

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I sat down with our designer Gabriella Cannon who expressed that she was thrilled to see her design come to life after learning that the grant was approved. Cannon said her biggest challenge in creating the “write” space for the Redwood Bark paper was having to effectively combine the two functions into one space. This meant having spaces dedicated to writing, researching, conducting interviews, laying out the paper, and conducting editorial work, in combination with a fully functioning classroom. The new configuration of their classroom would bring plenty of layout space, and individual work spaces for each student. Gabriella and I traveled up to Redwood High in early April 2016 to see the final product of the classroom/newsroom she had designed. It was inspiring to see the change in the students’ working environment. Their once not-so-functional newsroom has become an active learning classroom tailor-made for the students to thrive, which has made this project a tremendous success for everyone involved. Check out the photos below of the new Redwood High School journalism classroom!

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