7. Provide healthy, comfortable, and flexible learning spaces. Summit participants overwhelmingly agreed that school leaders should strive to improve the quality, attractiveness, and health of their buildings. Research and experience have shown the impact of spatial configurations, color, lighting, ventilation, acoustics, and other design elements on student achievement. Far from luxuries, these elements can affect students’ ability to focus, process information, and learn.

8. Consider non-traditional options for school facilities and classrooms. Explore options for employing underused civic, retail, and other adaptable, non-school spaces, participants urged. Many cities have community assets such as museums, colleges, research labs, and other institutions that offer the potential for experiential learning and real-life applications of lessons.

About the Author:

Dennis Pierce

A founding editor of eSchool Media, Dennis Pierce has spent the last 16 years as an education journalist covering issues such as national policy, school reform, and educational technology. Dennis began as Assistant Editor and is now Editor in Chief, overseeing all content and production for two national news magazines, five weekly newsletters, two daily newsletters, and three websites—with a total reach of nearly 1 million education leaders. Before joining eSchool Media, Dennis taught high school English, math, and SAT prep. He graduated cum laude from Yale University. Follow Dennis via Twitter: @eSN_Dennis