A Message for Educators

Design Charrette Workshops

Reimagine America’s Schools uses a design charrette model refined by the Reimagine leadership team through a decade of intensive school design partnerships with dozens of districts. Each workshop is typically three days long and consists of a team of design experts who lead school district-based teams consisting of educators, students and district leadership through a focused design-thinking process. The charrette combines leadership training and technical assistance to create implementable and transformative concepts for the use of space, facility layout, student-centered schedules, and technology-supported learning.

The Reimagine charrettes are focused on creating practical and implementable concepts that will guide the design of future educational spaces within the district. The Reimagine design teams are highly selective and represent the top educational design architects in the nation.  Our engagements are non-transactional and focus solely on helping create solutions that support better outcomes for your educators and students. 


Who are we looking for?

 The districts that will benefit most from participation in Reimagine America’s Schools understand that students learn in a variety of learning modalities and styles: listening to lectures, engaging in small interactive discussion groups, individual and personalized instruction, reviewing lessons with a peer, conducting hands-on experiments, constructing three-dimensional models, doing online research, listening to language recordings, or playing digital learning games

Reimagine America’s Schools works with districts and educators that are seeking change, with progressive approaches to education that meet students where they are. This requires a different approach to space. 

  • Operate within a culture of innovation. Your district team is eager to find inventive solutions for stubborn and persistent problems. You are never satisfied, constantly applying a process of continuous improvement to ensure that all students realize their full potential.

  • Are charting novel paths forward to empower and equip all students for a fruitful and fulfilled life ahead. You draw from research and best practice, but aren’t afraid to try something new. Perhaps you’re implementing personalized, project-based, and/or competency-based learning. Maybe you’re exploring maker and place-based education or are tinkering with technology in exciting ways. Most importantly, you’re charting these new paths while holding fast to a high bar of academic rigor and expectation.

  • Are invested in and committed to school design as a lever for change. As a district, you recognize that the place students learn in and teachers teach in really matters. You’re not satisfied with the industrial age, egg crate model of school design and see huge potential for physical space to support learning in new ways.

  • Are willing and able to commit time and senior staff to fully engage in the Reimagine America’s Schools program. To optimize the experience, we need district decision-makers in academics, technology, and facilities at the table. We know your time is valuable and can guarantee that the experience will be worth your while.

  • Have a construction program underway or soon-to-be underway. We plan to explore and develop solutions for real design challenges at real schools in your district. Our work together will be tangible and relevant – not theoretical.



Design Charrette/Workshop content and typical schedule

For the first phase of Reimagine America’s Schools which will conclude in July 2019, we will convene a charrette/workshop in six selected communities.  We will send a team of design experts for this three-day convening.  While the Schmidt Grant covers all expenses for the design team, we do request that the district provide meeting space and a commitment of participation that includes two brief strategic appearances by the superintendent and participation for the full event of a 5 to 6 member education team that will work with the Reimagine design experts. The district team should consist of teachers, principal, and at least one central office curriculum leader and student

Day 1

The Reimagine design team arrives in your community for the three-day design thinking charrette and education design workshop. In the morning we meet with district leadership and tour schools. In the afternoon we open the workshop with a plenary session where district leadership, educators, partners and others are invited. 

During the plenary Reimagine team leaders will explain the charrette process and present examples of contemporary school design illustrating the current best thinking in the design of learning spaces.  We also invite the district to present their educational program and ask that the Superintendent make brief affirmative comments about participation in the charrette.  After the plenary session, the district design team and Reimagine team will meet for dinner and begin the design process.

Day 2

The district team and Reimagine team will begin their charrette work at 8:00 and continue through the day. That evening the teams will again meet for dinner and continue their discussions.  Frequently the Reimagine team will work after dinner and sometimes late into the evening. The district team is invited to participate but is not required.

Day 3

The district team and Reimagine team will begin their charrette work at 8:00a.m. and continue through mid-day.  After lunch, the second plenary session is held with presentations from the district team on the process and results of the charrette.  We will conclude the charrette at about 3:00p.m. on day 3.

Post-charrette activities

Reimagine America’s Schools will be available to assist and support the implementation of the design charrette concepts through the design development stage of the project. Through Skype calls and emails we can provide support for the selected architect and educators to help assure that the concepts developed are fully implemented.

National Design Summit

In June 2019, Reimagine America’s Schools will convene a national capstone event to present the work done in each of the six districts.  More information on this important event will be provided as details are finalized.