Reengaging a Campus Community Through Facilities and Instructional Transformation


North Tower - 1st Floor - Garden 3

  • Primary Core Competencies: Community Engagement
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Ethics / Professionalism


Traditional learning environments are leaving students and teachers disengaged from the learning process. Washington Elementary an underperforming, Title 1 elementary school nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles was no exception to this trend. When Alan Pantanini walked onto the campus as the newly appointed Principal, he encountered a disengaged campus community and severely outdated campus facilities. Determined to transform his school into a beacon of hope, that offers Next Gen learning spaces to its community, Alan teamed with local architect Jay Tittle, AIA in an inspiring journey of transformation.     From the outset, experience had told them that utilizing a traditional design approach to campus transformation would not automatically result in academic success. They identified that creating an Immersive Learning space with flexible furniture and technology to deliver Project Based Learning would require an approach that incorporated teacher training and coaching that would lead to a shift in instructional mindset and knit together the physical environment with instructional delivery allowing for learning to take place anywhere.    

Achieving this transformation required a two-fold approach of:
1.    the physical space
2.    support of the new indoor learning environments to ensure successful outcomes

The physical transformation of the windowless box building started with pulling inspiration from the surrounding neighborhood and bringing it to into the building’s interior. Additionally, the need to replace interior walls of the original campus buildings with new acoustically sound walls provided the opportunity to reconfigure the buildings to accomplish key Next Gen Learning elements, such as:

Visual transparencyClassrooms that utilize flexible furniture allowing for multiple learning modalities to take placeCollaborative pull-out spaces for small group workFormal presentation areas for students to share and interactMaker Spaces that provide special project areas that are interactive and engagingA Learning Commons that supports learning, research and socialization

The second approach was achieved through engaging Page Dettman, Ph.D with MeTEOR Minds Consulting to lead special teacher training on how to best utilize these new Next Gen Learning Environments for student success. This approach ensured that students are provided with the skills, tools, and resources to support college and career readiness.    We hope you will join us to learn how effective leadership, purpose, vision, and dedicated professionals transformed the culture, climate and learning environment of a low performing elementary school into a beacon of possibilities that provides students 21st-century opportunities. Today, students engage in flexible learning environments with 1:1 technology tools, and resources that promote and address individual instructional needs. Teachers facilitate blended learning opportunities that integrate common core instructional standards with STEM, Robotics, Coding, Multi-media production, and Inquiry-based learning in maker-spaces to develop technologically literate learners.     This workshop will include lessons learned from teachers and their coaches on delivering education differently, along with first hand accounts from 5th grade Washington Elementary students on their perspectives of the before, during and after the campus transformation. This will give participants and understanding of the impact this approach has had on academic outcomes and community engagement.

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  Develop an approach to pedagogical transformation, in a condensed timeline, through a guided learning demonstration that was utilized in the Washington ES transformation.

OBJ #2   Gain understanding of new approaches to learning via a brief hands-on activity.

OBJ #3  At the end of this workshop participants will be able to adapt WELL building approaches to an interior transformation project using the story and outcomes of Washington Elementary school as an example.

OBJ #4  Understand best practices in training teachers in embracing new instructional techniques for flexible classrooms.

Alan Pantanini, Elementary Principal, Pomona Unified School District

Page Dettmann, PhD, ALEP, Chief Education Evangelist, MeTEOR Education

Jay Tittle, AIA, Schools Studio Principal, Little