Letter from the Editor

“In the end we only conserve what we love, we love only what we understand, and we understand only what we are taught.” This was a guiding quote from Senegalese poet, Baba Dioum, at the First National Green Charter Schools Conference. Nearly 200 educators, administrators and facilities managers were gathered from over 20 states for this conference. Keynote speaker, Professor Bill Cronon of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke to the core of what green charter schools are all about. Connecting to the community, connecting to the world, connecting students to a love of learning rather than limiting by standardized testing. His work “Only Connect”, and the people I met at the conference, inspired this month’s DesignShare Green Issue. While green is certainly a buzzword in any sector of architecture, we often fail to see how it’s actually put into practice in schools. You’ll find a number of resources on environmentally focused and environmentally friendly schools in this e-newsletter.

This month also inaugurates DesignShare’s effort to share not only better-quality case studies, but more of them, adding to our library of more than 500. We kick off the effort by presenting Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, and Colorado State University’s new state-of-the-art University Center for the Arts. You’ll be seeing more of these innovative schools in your inbox each month, and we hope, again as submissions in the 2010 Design Awards program.

This leads me to yet another exciting turn for DesignShare. We have hosted a renowned awards program every year since 2000. This year, the annual awards will switch gears and more actively involve you, our readers and our reason for existing. With leading experts in the field of school architecture and education serving as commentators, rather than judges, throughout the Awards process, we’ll ask you to call the shots by “Getting Out the Vote” for the most ground-breaking, successful school buildings. Watch for more news in the coming months and help make this the most successful Design Awards year yet!


Clare Vogel, Editor

On Tap

It’s Easy Being Green—Once You Know How
As Kermit says, “It is not easy being green,” but Environmental Charter High School knows how to implement the four GCSN components of the Green School Design. Click here to read more.

Case Study: University Center for the Arts, Colorado State University
State-of-the-Art Performing Arts Facility Born Out of Historic High School: As sustainability becomes the way of the world, sustainable elements and building as a 3-D textbook become an excellent means of teaching as well. Click here to read more...

Case Study: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Minneapolis, MN (as also published in the CEFPI Planner)
Yes We Can! Designing for Literacy, Numeracy, and Personalized Learning: The Cristo Rey Network has transformed the graduation rate in under-performing neighborhoods from 20% to over 90% using innovative approaches, such as corporate internships, personalized learning communities, and heavy doses of team teaching. Click here to read more...

Locker Options – Thinking Outside the Box, by Tod Schneider
To have a dramatic impact on locker issues, we literally need to start thinking outside the box, and integrate locker design into the surrounding environment. Click here to read more...

Video: The Edible Schoolyard: Seed-to-Table Learning
This campus gardening project has done more than teach students about the fundamentals of organic gardening. It's taught life lessons about interdependence, caring for the environment, and the value of hard work. Click here to view the video.

Down & Dirty: Getting a Handle on Mother Nature
From planting seeds to recycling cafeteria leftovers, students learn the cycle of life in gardens. Click here to read more...

One Corner of the World

Ghana Green Schools


Review of First National Green Charter Schools Conference
The First National Green Charter Schools Conference took place November 7-9 in Madison, Wisconsin. To learn more about the conference and keynote speaker, Professor Bill Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, click here.

Educational Facilities Effectiveness Instrument Demo Now Online
In a worsening economy, there isn’t much money floating around for school building improvements. A newly developed tool, developed by co-founders of Fielding Nair International and, allows governments and schools to assess their buildings at a maximum value. Click here to read the full article.

More Information on Eco-Friendly Schools
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy provides in-depth information on the advancement of energy efficiency.
  • Bright Schools Program offers its services to help schools become more energy efficient.
  • Foresight Design Initiative is the organization for environmentally responsible professionals.
  • Green Building Initiative provides information on how to build green.
  • Green School Project is the place for cartridge and cell-phone recycling programs.
  • Healthy Building Network keeps you current on everything related to healthy construction.
  • Sustainable Buildings Industry Council is the place to learn about "whole building design."
  • The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings will give you a detailed analysis of the cost benefits of green building.

Changes Coming to DesignShare

  • Online Manufacturer’s Directory coming soon
  • Get Out the Vote! New DesignShare Awards Program details announced on the blog


An Ethic of Excellence, Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students
By Ron Berger (2003)
Click here to read our review.

Event Calendar

7th Annual High Performance School Symposium (Tampa)
February 6 - 7, 2009

National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference (Chicago)
February 25 - 27, 2009
The NAIS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of independent school leaders, administrators, and teachers. The conference provides for attendees opportunities for invaluable personal and professional networking, and for the attainment of practical skills and tools. In addition, it strives to be an event that spurs forward-thinking dialogue about the future that faces independent schools.

"The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade" (Germany)
March 31 – April 2, 2009
The conference will review what has been achieved during the first half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and will look ahead to strategies that further promote awareness and progress in this field. Special emphasis will be placed on enhancing North-South and South-South dialogue and cooperation. The conference is organized by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.

June 2 - 4, 2009
If you're planning new schools, designing a new school, or renovating a school... If you're an architect designing schools and colleges, if you're a campus planner, a university architect, or you're an educational facilities planner... If you're building new schools, if you're building a college building, if you're building a university campus... If you're a member of AIA Committee on Architecture for Education, if you're an educational facilities planner or your direct capital projects for a school or college, if you're in school construction orcollege construction... If you're a member of CEFPI and interested in educational facilities planning... If If you want to know more about Green Schools, solar power in schools, or LEED for Schools, then School Building Expo is for you.

September 27 - 29, 2009
6-Degrees of Connection

E-Newsletter Sponsors


Fielding Nair International designs school facilities for today and tomorrow with one primary goal in mind — to improve learning. With consultations in 26 countries on 5 continents, dozens of important publications, and numerous industry awards for excellence, FNI is the global leader for innovative school architecture. Underlying all the architectural design, planning and educational change management work they do is a strong belief in diversity, high performance, technology infusion, global connections and personalization. Web:

VS’ history goes back to the late 1800’s as the first company to provide comprehensively designed school furniture. Their dedication to ergonomics applies to every type of workplace - be it in the school or office. The entire VS product development is based on expertise in ergonomic principles to support dynamic work, collaboration, and study environments. In particular, VS offers the PantoMove, the ultimate ergonomic classroom chair. Its 3-D rocking mechanism allows for movement in all directions. Easy height adjustment makes this chair the perfect fit for K-12 students. Web: General Info Email:

C/S GROUP (Construction Specialties, Inc.) is committed to design innovation and the improvement of educational environments. C/S manufactures impact-resistant wall covering and wall protection products, entrance-flooring systems, expansion joint covers and daylight management products for schools. With more than 70 registered patents, C/S is skilled in listening to architects and developing innovative new products to meet their projects’ specific requirements. Complete Design Manual is available at (888) 621- 3344. Download product drawings directly from the C/S Web site.

The School Building Expo is the industry event for people responsible for the construction and renovation of K-12 and Higher Education school facilities. Mark your calendars for the School Building Expo, June 2-4, 2009 in Pittsburgh, PA! It is the only event that truly brings together today's evolving Educational Institution marketplace in one place where they can learn about new trends, be inspired by exciting keynotes and discover the latest products and solutions. Information is available at our brand new website,, be sure to check it out and visit again in the coming months as more information will be available. For more information about participating as a sponsor, speaker, vendor, or participant in 2009, contact Joel Davis.

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