The American Architectural Foundation (AAF)  and KnowledgeWorks Foundation  have partnered to create a video case study and discussion guide that will educate local leaders and residents about the benefits of creating “Schools as Centers of Community.”
This video showcases the transformative story of John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School  – a struggling St. Paul, Minn. public school that is reborn as a beacon of academic excellence, design innovation, and community involvement. In keeping with the latest thinking in school design and planning, John A. Johnson opens its doors to the community so that it may both benefit from local resources and offer social, fitness, and educational services in return. John A. Johnson is a recent winner of the Richard W. Riley Award for Excellence for Schools as Centers of Community .
The “Schools as Centers of Community” model of school planning and design is growing increasingly popular in the United States. Schools are becoming a gathering place – a place of lifelong learning, shared health and fitness facilities, and a host of other services to enhance community and student success. At its core, this is also a question of design. In order to create “schools as centers of community,” architects, educators, designers, local officials, and residents must think differently about our schools and create spaces that reflect a new understanding of the school building.
This video and discussion guide are part of AAF’s growing school design resource library. The video is accompanied by a printed discussion guide that will help local leaders, individuals, and community groups guide conversations about the topics raised in the video. Viewers will learn more about the story of John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School and discuss how this example relates to their own community.