Instruction to Drive Construction for Secondary School Improvements

The Wichita Falls school district is working to figure out how best to teach the digital generation ... and today, the school board heard from an expert in school architecture.
    It comes as the district is working toward a possible bond election to update the district's junior highs and high schools.
    The last bond election -- about five years ago -- focused on the elementary schools ...
    District leaders want to make sure instruction drives the construction.
School architecture expert Frank Kelly's motto is: "No more cookie-cutter high schools."
   Frank Kelly
"You want the building to support the curriculum & the instruction ... So you've got to talk about education first & the architecture second."
   So the key, Kelly says, is gathering feedback -- then figuring out how to create an environment most conducive to learning.
   "I went back to my own high school not long ago - & I graduated a long time ago -- & when I stepped into the front door, it was exactly the same as it was the day I graduated. And that's pretty silly, when you consider how the world has changed. Schools should be able to change & evolve the way office buildings & retail buildings do."
   Superintendent Dr. George Kazanas, wants the community to get involved & take ownership.
    Dr. George Kazanas
WFISD Superintendent
   "At some point in the future, if we ask our voters to vote for a bond issue, ask to increase taxes for a bond election, I want them to know that this is something that is well-thought out, well-planned, & that has been well-researched."
  Dr. Kazanas wants to look at efficient, economical designs for the schools, that will go hand in hand with technology. And he & Kelly agree -- a great building is no substitute for a great teacher.
   "A great teacher can probably go out & sit under a tree someplace. But I would contend that a great teacher who had a great facility to work with, with great technology, & a supportive -- sort of a whole supportive environment, would do a lot better."
    This spring, the district will hold education summits where anyone will be able to share feedback ... A bond election could take place as early as next year.

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