The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 27, 2009

How to build a high school for the 21st century?

The CCHS Master Plan Committee is looking for community input as they refine objectives for a renovation to the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS). What are the community space needs? What would you like to see in a new field house or fine arts center? To give suggestions, go to: and click on “Share/Comment.” The committee is working with architects from the firm The Office of Michael Rosenfeld (OMR) and expects to complete the master plan over the next four months.

A timeline for the CCHS master plan was presented at the November 18 committee meeting by OMR architect and Project Manager Jeanne Roberts. This month OMR is finalizing goals and starting a building analysis. They will be concentrating on understanding the present condition of the high school facility and goals for sustainability. By mid-December, OMR will be preparing preliminary options. In January, they will compare these options, select the most promising and then develop a phasing plan and budget. By late January, this option will be compared to the option of building a new school, with final cost information. By mid-March, OMR expects to deliver a final Master Plan Report.

The committee has been discussing a list of master plan goals this fall, aided by a visioning session held on November 14, attended by committee members and invited community representatives. Master plan goals include garnering support with a design that reflects the two communities’ values; “solving the new-school-versus-renovation-addition conundrum; exploring financial options with MSBA and public/private partnerships.”

The committee hopes the planning process will yield a flexible, cost-effective, energy-efficient design. Their aim is “a fully integrated campus that promotes 21st-century learning, educational excellence, high performance and intergenerational community, and recreational use.”

The design should have abundant natural light, clean air and be on the cutting edge technologically. They want the new facility to be safe and secure, as well as easy to maintain. Last but not least is the goal to “minimize the impact of the design and construction on the students, teachers, parents, neighbors and the greater community.”

Envisioning a 21st-century school

To learn more about future trends, eight or nine committee members and the architects attended a seminar on 21st. century schools given by educational planner Frank Locker. He spoke about how schools of the future will differ from those of the past. A video describing societal changes and education can be found at (click on “21st Century Education”). The committee discussed the seminar at their November 18 meeting.

One forecast for education is that the curriculum will become more integrated. Badalament asked, “When do [we] stop teaching biology, chemistry and physics as solos? When do we start teaching them as one, or together?”

Locker’s slides stated, “By 2014, 25% of high school courses will be online. By 2019, 50% will be online.” Badalament wondered if colleges will expect students to have already taken at least one class online prior to admission.

According to slides from the seminar, Locker said teachers will be doing less lecturing in the future. Instead of being the holders of knowledge, teachers will be guides. CCHS Principal Peter Badalament reiterated Locker’s view that “the 20th century was the century of the teacher. The 21st century will be the century of the learner.” Locker suggested schools include spaces for small groups to work together. There will be less memorization and more critical thinking. There will be more teacher collaboration, cooperative and project-based learning. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito