GUERILLA EDUCATORS IS DEDICATED TO REALTIME EDUCATIONAL BEST PRACTICES IN ACTION. WE ARE A GLOBAL LEADER IN THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EFFECTIVE PROJECT BASED LEARNING ON THE FRONTLINES IN AND OUT OF CLASSROOMS. WE ALSO CONNECT EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES PLANNERS WITH THE TEACHERS/LEARNERS WHO USE THOSE SPACES.
This morning, Brendan Wills, the Education Reporter for the Montgomery County (PA) Times Herald paid a visit to Mrs. Margie Rothfeld's 7th grade students at East Norriton Middle School. Brandon helped Mrs. Rothfeld to teach interviewing techniques to her students. This video documents some of the great things that took place there today. Take a look...
A culminating electrical unit activity for 4th grade students at MaST Community Charter School in Philadelphia was that they were to design and build a working flashlight. The unit was part of their science curriculum. A group of students thought so much of the Project they asked if they could make a video of the finished products and conduct interviews. This film was shot entirely by students and they directed the editing of the raw footage, as well. It demonstrates how educators can use available technology to make the most of student interests. It also shows the use of technology applications as a tool to support effective best practices. Take a look...
Here is another compelling video from MaST Charter School about their newly created Peace Garden.
Much has already been deservedly written about the amazing,
brilliant, innovative, education-based conference, Educon 2.2, at the
Science Leadership Academy in the School District of Philadelphia that
took place on January 29, 30, and 31, 2010. IMHO, Educon truly could
not have had the degree of success it did without authentic, hands on
SLA student involvement in virtually every aspect of the program. This
video is a compilation of some of those student voices and their take
on why Educon is important to them, their school, and to the world of
education. They are truly a tribute to the tremendous work of Mr. Chris
Lehman, Principal at SLA. Take a look...
Good article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about Educon, here.
With the architect, David Schrader, John Sole co-wrote an article for the latest CEFPI Educational Facility Planner magazine (Volume 43/Issues 2 & 3). Entitled "Educational Facility Design and Project Based Learning; the Real Connection", the article makes the case that school design should complement effective teaching and learning pedagogies, especially Project Based Service Learning...
World-class teaching and learning can take place under a tree. This seems like an odd premise to begin making the case for more effective educational facility design, however understanding the notion that a student's ability to learn is not fully contingent upon but can be shaped and informed by the building in which that learning takes place is the first step in better school design. Click here
to read the full story, which begins on Page 19 of the magazine.
building was responsible for keeping Scott Kelly in Philadelphia. Scott
found himself frustrated with the professional resistance to green and
sustainable practices in the Philly region.
had packed his bags and was seeking opportunities elsewhere when a
former client called asking him for help on a what he called a “LEEDS”
green office building. What a difference Scott has made in a short time.
stayed in Philly and launched Re:Vision Architecture, one of the
region's leading lights in green building. Re:Vision works exclusively
on green and sustainable projects with a quarter of its business
focused on educating architects and contractors about sustainable
practices. In 2007, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute
of Architects named Scott the AIA Philadelphia Architect of the Year.
Scott waxes about greenbuilding in the attached video clip:
interview takes place at Aerzen Corporation's iconic new
office/industrial complex in Coatesville, PA. It is the first
industrial application of straw bale design in the United States and
the country's first industrial application of Earth Tubes, as well.
In addition, Scott serves as an instructor for the Green Advantage®
(GA) -Commercial Certification workshops. Scott was an early supporter
of Green Advantage and one of the authors of the commercial curriculum.
Scott has led around 17 GA workshops, preparing close to 1,000 people
for Green Advantage Certification.
Scott stresses the benefits of Green Advantage Certification:
Green Advantage introduces contractors to new concepts and techniques.
Advantage helps remove the resistance of contractors to green and
sustainable building and increases contractors' willingness to try it.
Green Advantage results in a new skill set and a market advantage for
contractors, important assets in these tough economic times.
Contractors find they are able to beat the competition on bids,
interviews, and end cost. Green Advantage helps them get more jobs.
Green Advantage saves money by implementing good construction waste protocol, for example.
Green Advantage gives new meaning to work, helping contractors do better for themselves and their families.
notes that this last point may bring the relevance of green building
home to some contractors. Green building may help the contractor's
pocketbook and also his or her health. The health impacts of
construction products are as important for workers as they are for the
end user. When discussing PVC welding cement in classes, for example,
Scott is greeted by stories of liver problems among the friends of
workshop participants after a lifetime use of the material. The
importance of integrating green thinking throughout the entire
construction process is emphasized. Contractors come to realize the
need for “green cleaners” to minimize VOC or chemical off-gassing or
An additional benefit of Green
Advantage is that a contractor can earn an Innovation Credit for LEED
by using GA-Certified staff. Certification offers a cost-effective
alternative to other possible LEED credits, such as measurement and
verification of building systems, and provides a market advantage for
the Certified contractor considering a project bid. Scott points to
Re:Vision Architecture’s role in earning the first LEED Innovation
Credit awarded for GA-Certified professionals at Lake Smetana in Eden
Prairie, Minnesota (see related article about the Bainey Group).
Re:Vision also was involved in the LEED Innovation Credit for use of
GA-certified professionals on the new 82,000 SF, multi-use office and
retail space for Dansko Shoes in West Grove, Pennsylvania. The Dansko
facility achieved LEED-NC Gold Certification.
Scott, being a GA trainer helps build a cadre of people who understand
green design and possible partners for future projects. Scott finds
that GA training helps him build relationships with contractors and
subcontractors and vet who he wants working on future jobs.
Contractors aren't the only participants in Scott's trainings of
course. Architects, developers, real estate professionals, engineers,
and building operations and management staff all benefit from Scott's
knowledge of green building principles, practices, and processes. Scott
draws on both his personal passion and his design experience with more
than 60 LEED projects for each training program. Scott also does
individual coaching of design and construction professionals on green
building and LEED. Such coaching often helps change the mindset of
Scott emphasizes that this is an “incredibly exciting time to make a
difference” and that Green Advantage is playing a significant role. For
more information, see Re:Vision Architecture’s Web site.
Check out the interview between the architect, Scott Kelly and John Sole, from Guerilla Educators. The video is currently featured on the iGreenBuild website.In the video, using the new Aerzen office/manufacturing complex as a 3 dimensional teaching and learning tool, Scott gives a virtual seminar about sustainable design in such areas as environmentally
friendly landscaping, stormwater management, straw bale construction,
SIPS, natural ventilation, water efficient bathroom fixtures, waterless
urinals and much more.. Don't miss this!
Contact us here at Guerilla Educators for cutting edge Educational Facilities Design Solutions that work. We'll work with you every step of the way.
Scott Kelly, the American Institute of Architects (Philadelphia Chapter) 2007 recipient of the Young Architect of the Year award met John Sole from Guerilla Educators at Scott's latest signature green building to talk about green sustainable design and the exponential changes taking place in the world of architecture and sustainable design in the built environment. The interview takes place at Aerzen Corporation's iconic new
office/industrial complex in Coatesville, PA. It is the first
industrial application of straw bale design in the United States and
the country's first industrial application of Earth Tubes, as well. Take a look...
With Jenn Rezeli, Scott is a co-founder of Re:Vision architecture whose philosophy is committed to restoring the balance between the natural and built environments. In Coatesville, Aerzen Corporation has received a LEED Gold designation and is a 3- dimensional textbook for sustainable design.
Green School Design; Interview with Architect David
Mazzocco LEED AP, Partner, SCHRADERGROUPArchitecture,
At SGA, David Mazzocco is the point architect for all issues
related to LEED. Mazzocco is one of the foremost proponents
of sustainability and has designed a number of schools that are LEED
certified. He has also worked in classrooms with students to teach green
Guerilla Educators: David, the global standard of green, sustainable
design is LEED certification. Explain this LEED process, particularly as
it relates to school design.
David Mazzocco:Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was developed
by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) as a means to effectively
qualify green or sustainable/high performance design in the United States.
Anyone can say they have a "green" building, but how do you actually measure and
verify "green" as a concept? LEED is the process to do just that. It
creates the benchmark for all aspects of the building process - design,
construction and operation - by assigning a point system in five
key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency,
materials selection and indoor environmental quality. There are four
ascending levels of LEED based on the total number of points awarded: Certified,
Silver, Gold and Platinum. In addition, there are LEED programs for
specific building types; one of which, LEED for Schools, is currently in pilot
development and is expected to release officially by this
the keys to LEED is promoting what we like to call "Integrated Design."
This process enables the design team to work together from the start of a
project so that each member is inherently familiar with all aspects of the
design. In other words, if the architect is using a certain amount of
insulation, window arrangements and shading and ceiling treatments,
the electrical engineer might be able to reduce the amount of artificial
light thus reducing electrical loads and in turn reducing heat loads for the
mechanical engineer. It seems like common sense, but that is not typically
how building design occurs in this country.
process benefits schools in multiple ways. One of which is decreased
energy usage and operations and maintenance costs over the life of the
building. Another, and arguably more important area, is that we are seeing
an increase in the number of allergies and respiratory ailments in our
children today. A lot of these issues are caused by the materials in our
man-made world, in particular off-gassing from chemical compounds in paints and
urea-formaldehyde containing binders, dust, dirt, mold and inefficient
ventilation systems to name but a few. And younger children, in
particular, are more susceptible to these indoor pollutants. LEED projects
address these issues through eliminating their use or mandating minimal use in
the project. We also see classroom buildings with poor lighting; and by
this I mean not only artificial light but natural daylight as well. There
are certain colors in the natural lighting spectrum with which our bodies are in
tune. When we have less of this light, we become tired, sluggish and
inattentive - all things which can lead to poor student performance. So
far, LEED buildings have contributed to a 20% increase in test scores because
LEED buildings create better environments for our children to learn in.
These items, items which pertain directly to the Indoor Environmental Quality of
the spaces we teach and learn in, are just some of the areas we focus on in high
performance school design.
one finale note, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Education's
reimbursement program for public schools initiated an approach whereby they will
increase the rate of reimbursement for schools that reach a minimum LEED Silver
GE: The standard
operational procedure at SchraderGroup Architecture is that the design of a school begins with the
charrette. Walk us through the charrette process and explain why
the charrette is so important to effective school design.
DM: In short,
the charrette process is a day or multi-day long process, depending on the
project, where the entire design team, teachers, administrators, operations and
maintenance personnel, members of the community and students work
together in teams to develop their ideas on the
proposed school design project. The process will entail some time for
group presentations to introduce everyone to the project program, budget and
other constraints and if it is a LEED project to introduce the group to the LEED
the introductions, the group breaks into the individual teams where they
literally sketch out their ideas for the building design. At various
intervals, the groups will present their ideas to the entire group for feedback
and comments. The groups will take these comments and refine their designs
further until a final design is selected by the entire group. Depending on
the length of the charrette, this process may happen only once or could be as
many as 5 different sessions. The benefit of this process is that it
enables buy-in from the community into the building design so everyone feels
they had a hand in the final outcome. It's a very rewarding process
for all involved - especially the students.
GE: Much of the argument against
building "green" is that sustainable design is more expensive than more
conventional design. Can you clarify the cost/benefit of building to LEED
course, the environmentalist response is that "you cannot afford not
to build green," but we have to deal with realistic budgets and
expectations. The USGBC and other green building organizations have made
numerous studies on the cost to build high performance buildings. In
Pennsylvania where there is the incentive to achieve LEED Silver ratings on
public school projects, research shows an increase in construction costs of 2-5%
over baseline project types; some studies even show the costs almost being
equal. As one attempts to achieve higher LEED ratings, there are
definitely increased costs associated with implementing some of the
said, however, we try to have our clients understand the term
"cost" is not strictly based on first time (construction) costs.
The reality is that it costs money, a lot of money, to operate and maintain
buildings after they are built. In other words, the life cycle costs
of the building: the costs to build AND operate and maintain the building is the
total cost to build. Looking at it from this perspective, an integrated
design approach with certified high performance building yields
a building which is much cheaper due to saved energy and lower utility
costs, durable materials that are easier to clean and have a longer life span,
increased occupant productivity and health, decrease in absenteeism rates and
increased building value to name a few. I just read a quote from a
developer who stated that consumers over the years have demanded that the auto
industry produce vehicles that achieve better gas mileage, better
durability and safety so as to get a better return on our money. As
he states, why haven't we started demanding that of the building
GE: In another part of this blog, Dave, you are seen in a video
working with inner city 4th grade students on a sustainable architecture
project. You, and the entire SchraderGroup staff have committed time and
resources as Community Partners to work directly with students in schools.
What drives this committment?
DM:It builds on what we discussed earlier, that the
children are our future and we need to ensure that
we can connect what they do in their everyday life life with the world
around them. When I walk into a classroom to talk about building materials
and start the presentation off with holding up a soda can or a milk jug and
asking the question if this is a building material, it becomes very gratifying
to see the looks of surprise on the students faces as they connect that
this thing that they use everyday and more than likely "throw away" could
possibly have another use. When we expand the lesson to get the students
directly involved with the design of something in their school, it may begin to
give them a sense of pride and place about where they live and learn. We
are trying to help them make those connections so that they can start to build
on this foundation as they grow and continue to learn. Just look at
computer use among children and younger adults today. It's second nature
for this generation to use computers, pda's, text messaging, etc. because it is
something they grew up with. This is the same principal. If they are
able to gain this foundation when they are young rather than adults, just
imagine what changes they will be able to make!
Thanks, Dave. Click here to view the video of David Mazzocco working with 4th grade students at an inner city school in West Philly.
Edward E. Kirkbride, NCARB, REFP, is an educational architectural consultant. He was awarded “2002 Planner of the Year”: the highest and most distinguished individual honor conferred by the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International (CEFPI). CEFPI's award read, in part, “His focus to bring cutting-edge educational facilities concepts and programs to fellow professionals set an outstanding example of giving back to the community”. During his 40-year architectural career as a principal, he has been involved in the planning, design and construction of well over 100 school facilities. Now his interests are to connect the educational facilities planning & design industry directly to the needs and educational programs of students, their teachers, and their community with an emphasis on the environment and high-performance learning opportunities.
Guerilla Educators – Ed, anyone who has had the privilege of hearing you speak or give workshop presentations is familiar with “The Hat”. You invariably address education and architectural professionals in this manner. What is your purpose making presentations in such distinctive headwear? Ed Kirkbride:I wear the “Cat-in-the Hat” while I’m teaching to remind others and myself that my clients are the students and my purpose for being is to serve student educational needs. I personally felt this way and consciously practiced this way since returning from a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy in the mid 1960’s. Thereafter, I have tried to include students in the programming and design of their facilities from pre-K (early childhood) through elementary and high school commissions even into the design of community college facilities. In the mid 1990’s, I was pleased to find the organization of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), had several concerned and cutting-edge peers to interact with and grow. Working with and on behalf of CEFPI, my educational planning and design world has expanded and become interactive with worldwide cutting-edge individuals and organizations who and which also focus on students and their needs as clients.
I wear the hat to remind others and myself that what we do is fun and should bring joy to others. I also wear it because I’m somewhat of a “Thespian” who played character parts in high school and college theater productions.
GE: So the hat signifies the idea that learning should be fun and joyful and that school architects should have respect for authentic student input the school design process. It sounds like a simple recipe for academic success. In your experience, do you see students having fun and being joyful anywhere across the educational spectrum?
EK: Not just school architects should respect student input, but also planners as well as teachers, educators and administrators. Very few adults give students any credit for being able to think and contribute to their world. The result of 20th Century industrialized education has been (and continues to be) teaching the masses (seats) to perform functions. Children are vessels to be filled with enough information to perform necessary production line tasks (and win world wars).
100 years ago, John Dewey gave USA education the philosophy and tools to move into the knowledge-based world and beyond into the individual value based, environmentally concerned and creative holistic world mankind will need to survive the 21st Century. A small but highly motivated and energetic contingency of educational teachers, planners and architects are transitional and now are emerging as leaders for the future of education.
In the Spring of 2000, I became aware of the power of Project-Based Learning when I attended a modest but significant “Alliance to Save Energy – Green Schools” program for the Philadelphia Public Schools under the direction of Merrilee Harrigan, being taught by Janet Castellini.
During that program, I had the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Public Schools “Project-Based Service Learning Center”. There I met John Sole and became aware of the powerful opportunities to connect Architecture and Design directly to the educational needs of students through hands-on projects.
In the Fall of 2000, I participated in and became aware of the long history of the “AIE” (Architecture in Education) program founded in the early 1980’s by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This program has brought thousands of students together with 100’s of teachers, architects, planners and architectural students. The multifaceted projects across all grade levels (K thru 12) practiced all of the principles and cross-connected all the disciplines of education. The children in these classes of “Green Schools” and AIE were having fun and being joyful while participating not only in their own learning process, but in shaping a world for their Future.
GE: Ed, you were the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International’s (CEFPI) “Planner of the Year in 2002”. Are there significant differences between an educational facilities planner and an architect or a designer of schools?
EK: An Educational Facilities Planner addresses the holistic concept of the place (or happening) of a school facility in the Community Environment, the Learning Environment and the Physical Environment. My colleague David Anstrand, RA, REFP and I have defined this process as the Educational Environment Program (EEP). The Planner may be an educator &/or administrator with years of experience in educational facilities, a facilities manager or director, or an architect. The Planner is responsible for developing and applying theories and principles of the program requirements for the facilities that are to be designed and built by the Architect. The Planner is not held liable for the end result of his work. The CEFPI Guide for Educational Facility Planning “Creating Connections” describes the process and team personnel in detail.
An Architect for schools is concerned with solving and meeting the complexities of putting together the various predetermined space requirements of a bureaucratic program. He/she must meet the various and many Code requirements; all for the price of the lowest bid. Then the Architect is responsible to see that his designs are built correctly and perform reasonably well to the original specified requirements. At the present time, the Architect is trained and obliged to design for “seat” (not student) spaces that fit the 20th Century industrial school model and support “teaching-to-the-test”. In the last 50 years, there have been very few schools that are commodious, beautiful and uplifting. Only in the near past have a few architects begun to consider the students as their clients and the sustainability of the environment as a primary responsibility. Above all, in today’s litigious society, the Architect is licensed and legally responsible to protect life, limb and property.
GE: It sounds as if an educational facilities planner wears a number of different hats, Ed. EK: Yes, John, Planners and Architects for School Facilities wear many different hats, This talk about hats also calls to mind Dr. Ed DeBono's "6 Thinking Hats of Decision Making". When talking with High School students about careers in Architecture and the Construction Industry, I often refer to the many hats each of us wear during our lifetime and in today’s world, how many of these hats change differently and drastically. Fifty years ago our grandparents and parents might have worn the same hat and performed the same tasks for their whole life. Their education system (and unfortunately, our present one) prepared them for those roles. Today, we change jobs, life styles and directions in our personal lives, as corporate America and even as a world super power (or not). Today’s education must meet these needs, not just for our affluent, but also for our whole society so as to ultimately survive. Teaching to the brain has become a necessity for this survival and is just now emerging from the dark ages of centuries of Euro-American ignorance. Very recently we are finding our brains are connected in a trillion ways to our experiences that will give us not only knowledge, but wisdom to act. Experience and experiences require learning through DOING. Learning through doing is Project Based Learning. Learning through doing with the purpose of being a holistic part of our earth environment is Project Based Service Learning.
GE: Why do you emphasize that the school itself, the physical facility, should be used as a 3 dimensional textbook?
EK: This past century, all the parts and pieces
have been available but have not coalesced, to emphasize the school
facility and modern architecture itself as a 3 dimensional textbook.
the best example/explanation that the human being has evolved beyond
the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to build complex and
sometimes beautiful structures and physical systems to protect us from
the elements. Along with the history of language, the history of
building and architecture is one of the most fascinating stories we can
write and weave about our accomplishments and ourselves. It is also
one of the most horrific tales of destruction of our planet and
ourselves that universe-history may record (if at all remember).
Mankind has brought so much destruction upon ourselves and the world
around us in our short stay on earth and particularly the past 100–150
years, that end damage may be irreparable. However, rather than speak
to apocalypse, I think we should be speaking to crisis damage repair.
And I believe the immediate turn-around in education of our children
and citizens of tomorrow is our hope for salvation, if not for
Historically, Architects have been master builders
who have risen through the construction ranks (and/or family politics)
to their esteemed position of creativity and responsibility. Lasting
works of architecture such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Greek and
Roman temples with their public squares and the Gothic cathedrals with
their carved stone facades and stained glass windows were each the
embodiment of a 3 dimensional textbook teaching the masses. Very few
other than the wealthy and noble could read or had any sort of formal
The late 19th century in Europe and North America
was an exciting period of dramatic change, invention and philosophy.
The Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, suspension bridges and
skyscrapers have been (and still are) our 3 dimensional textbooks of
what man has wrought with an over abundance of natural resources and
ego. In the United States, the 20th century was a continuing glut of
obsessive consumption with excessive waste fed by an industrialized
(mechanized) public education.
We are in a period of false
prophets along with mass produced thoughtlessness and ugliness of 20th
century deeds that have given us very little direction, means to
discern or sense of moral right. As we closed the 20th century and
excess spills over into the 21st, a small but growing minority of
pragmatic visionaries and creators are emerging as leaders, rather than
naysayers, to look for and find order in a world of self-destructive
chaos. One of our great living leaders and philosophers in this effort is David W. Orr.
His lifetime of work gives us accurate analysis of our condition and
direction for healing and resolve. His most recent work “Design on the Edge; the Making of a High-Performance Building” is a textbook for those of us who plan, design and build not just schools, but all buildings for the future.
GE: Who are some of the influential thinkers who have articulated the school as a 3-dimensional textbook and emphasized Project-Based-Service-Learning?
EK: Anne Taylor, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, in my mind, is the most outstanding educator and the leading proponent and practitioner in the 3-dimensional textbook field. She has been our physical facilities planning mentor for more than 35 years. Her book “School Zone” coauthored with Architect, George Vlastos in 1983 is still the finest resource available for connecting students to their learning environments and vice-versa. Anne and George’s “Architecture and Children”: (along with Alison Marshall, Ph.D.) is one of the best “Teacher’s Guides” available for Interdisciplinary learning activities of the “Architecture and Children Curriculum”. Anne Taylor’s work can be “found” at many and various websites such as, www.edutopia.org/taylor.
I did not become aware of Anne Taylor’s work until the mid 1990’s when I attended her workshops and presentations at CEFPI events and particularly in July 1998 at a Thomas Jefferson Center Conference led by Daniel L. Duke. As a result of Anne’s teaching’s along with those of “colleagues”. Steven Bingler, Bruce Jilk and later Jeff Lackney, David Anstrand and I became collaborators in developing the Education Environment Program (EEP) which I consider a program model for Project Based Service Learning as an alternative to the straight jacket of the Educational Specification.
I'll have more to say about influential thinkers in Project Based Service Learning and the 3 Dimensional Textbook in a future posting