NATIONAL DESIGN ALLIANCE LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE TO TRANSFORM PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOMS ACROSS THE U.S.


New York, NY (January 24, 2019) – Today the National Design Alliance, in association with Schmidt Futures, led by Former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, announced the launch of Reimagine America’s Schools, a new national initiative to create schools that support 21st century learning. 

“More than 59 million Americans spend their days in our public schools,” said Ron Bogle, President & CEO of the National Design Alliance. “Instead of trapping these students and educators in classrooms built for the 1950s, we aim to leverage the massive investment in school construction to create schools for the 2050s.”

“Schmidt Futures is excited to support the work of the National Design Alliance to reimagine school design for the 21st century,” said Tom Kalil, Chief Innovation Officer at Schmidt Futures. “As a country, we spend billions every year on new and renovated school facilities, and the work by NDA will help school leaders harness that investment, and expand access to STEM, Maker-centered and personalized learning.” 

According to a 2016 report from The National Council on School Facilities, nearly $50 billion dollars will be spent in the next few years on the expansion, renovation, and construction of our nation’s public schools. Each day, more than 20% million students, teachers, and education employees spend their days in our nation’s 120,000 school buildings. Buildings that are often relics of the last century. Unlike other efforts such as implementation of educational technology and professional development training that are being highly leveraged, there is virtually no coordinated effort currently being made to leverage the investment in the design and construction of education spaces in support of improved educational outcomes. Applying over a decade of experience working on the design of learning environments, Reimagine America’s Schools will work with districts to help them develop a new vision for learning environments in their communities to support their educational aspirations.

In early 2019, Reimagine America’s Schools will announce the selection six school districts from across the country and pair them with teams of top architecture, design, and technology experts. In order to be eligible for the design-thinking program, the school districts must:

  • Be preparing to launch a school construction finance initiative in their district in the next 12 to 18 months;

  • Actively seeking new strategies to support transformation of their schools;

  • Want to foster a culture of change in their school that will support STEM, project-based and Maker-center learning; and

  • Aspire to be national thought leaders.

The design-thinking program will last approximately four months, beginning in February. A national convening in Spring 2019 will serve as the capstone event to share the best and brightest ideas produced to date and launch a national conversation about innovative learning environments for the 21st century.

The initiative is funded by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity.


About Reimagine America’s Schools

A project of the National Design Alliance, Reimagine America’s Schools seeks to galvanize educators, superintendents, parents, policy makers, funders, education technology experts and design professionals in its mission to improve learning outcomes. We are working in partnership with educators, technology experts and design professionals to create a new model for learning environments in American public schools that support progressive educators and learners as they move forward in the 21st century.

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that seeks to improve societal outcomes through the thoughtful development of emerging science and technologies that can benefit humanity. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. The initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts they support. Learn more at https://schmidtfutures.com/our-method/faq/.

Media Contact

Ron Bogle, rbogle@natldesignalliance.org, 917-930-0699