The KCBA team was active at the 2023 A4LE (Association for Learning Environments) Northeast Region Conference in Philadelphia from April 27 – 29th. The organization’s mission is focused on advancing the study of learning environments and this annual conference engages chapters spanning from Maine to Washington DC.
The first day featured tours of prominent educational facilities throughout the region. KCBA coordinated the inclusion of Arrowhead Elementary School of Methacton School District, led by the school’s principal, Dr. Aaron Roberts. Opened for the 2022-2023 school year and housing 625 K-4 students, a group of educators and architects traversed through the 86,000 SF facility and its complement of activated public spaces, flexible classrooms, and indoor and outdoor learning forums.
The second day was dedicated to educational programs and KCBA Principal Michael Kelly, AIA, ALEP, LEED AP was honored to co-lead a session along with Andrew Neely, M.Ed. Principal of Altoona Area High School and Scott DeShong, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent of Avon Grove School District. Titled, “TechEd as Cornerstone of an Innovative High School Program: Not Your Parents’ Woodshop”, the presentation examined the incorporation of career and technical-based education as a foundational curricular element of a comprehensive secondary school program. This trend was explored through case studies of the two co-presenter’s recent building projects which both prioritized the elevation of technical education but its expression varied considerably due to differences in community profiles and site contexts. The reimagined Altoona Area High School, composed of several discrete buildings in an urban grid in the industrial center of Blair County, opened in 2020 for 2,800 students. Avon Grove High School, a new building and campus on a sprawling 153-acre site in a historic farming community in Chester County, opened in 2022 for 1,750 students.
Many KCBA team members also attended the conference to both learn and contribute to the important enterprise of enhancing learning environments.