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It’s not the Jetsons, it’s modern learning at RPS 205

Driving around town, seeing construction at so many Rockford Public Schools, it’s easy to focus on the external improvements to the district. But the internal transformations are just as important to learning.

For example: If you come to a Rockford School Board meeting, you will notice a furniture grouping outside the board room, adjacent to our Human Resources Department. When I first saw it, it reminded me of something from the Jetsons, the space-age TV show of my childhood. Later, I learned from Annie Egler, RPS 205 interior designer, that the furniture was meant to illustrate an ideal 21st Century learning environment.

A grouping of furniture outside the third floor board room at the RPS 205 Administration Building, 501 7th St., illustrates modern learning.

A grouping of furniture outside the third floor board room at the RPS 205 Administration Building, 501 7th St., illustrates modern learning.

Every element is intentional—from the lively colors, to the lighting placement, to the group seating and comfortable furniture. The spaces are designed to promote active learning and encourage teamwork, to spur collaborative, creative thinking.

Studies have shown that educational spaces can help engage students, improving attention, motivation, learning and academic achievement. As opposed to the stiff-backed, cramped desks of the past – in which every student is an island — the new focus is on learning communities and accommodating multiple learning styles.

The RPS 205 facilities design team is receiving accolades for its approach, as well.

The Guilford High School library design earned national acclaim.

The Guilford High School library design earned national acclaim.

Last month, the Guilford High School library was selected to appear as an Outstanding Design in the 2015 American School and Universities Educational Interiors Showcase. The showcase is a premier competition honoring excellence in education interiors. The library project will appear in the August edition of the magazine; it will also be showcased online in a searchable “Find a Project” database on SchoolDesigns.com. The Guilford library was among four projects earning honors in the library/media centers category. It was among 77 projects honored in the showcase.

Read about the showcase, and download a list of the projects honored, here.

The facilities work – internal and external – is part of the district’s 10-year facilities plan, funded in part by a successful $139 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2012. Citizens can be proud of the transformation they supported.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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