Schools In Focus Podcast

Schools in Focus

Schools In Focus is a podcast dedicated to the design, planning and management of educational facilities and campuses. Listen in as we chat with industry experts, facility managers, architects, security and safety professionals, and other thought leaders. Catch up on previous episodes below.


Managing Schools and Classrooms to Promote Student Wellness

07/12/22

Our guest today is Bob Dillon, a school designer and consultant with STS Education. He's here to talk about the importance of student wellness during the learning day, from the time students arrive at the bus stop to the final bell. We'll cover all the different aspects of student wellness, as well as wellness rooms, the role of technology, staff wellness and professional development tracks, and the importance of choice in getting students to engage. This episode is sponsored by STS Education.

Duration: 24 min


Hacking the Senses to Maximize the Student Experience

06/27/22

Today's topic is "Hacking the Senses to Maximize the Student Experience," and my guests are Kim Montague, Executive Director - research and insights, and Kaelynn Reid, design futurist, both with Kimball International. They're here to talk about the design elements of multi-sensory environments that research and experience have shown to maximize student wellness. Sensory input in the classroom--everything from color to sound to scent, and even taste--can impact student experience and can play a role in memory retention, creative thinking and emotional intelligence. You'll learn how classroom designers can essentially "hack the senses" to usher in a desired psychological or physical outcome. This episode is sponsored by Kimball International.

Duration: 25 min


Creating Healthy Schools by Improving IEQ

05/31/22

Today’s guest is Kristin Moore, the Vice President of Market Segments at Armstrong World Industries. We'll talk about the importance of indoor environmental quality in creating and maintaining healthy learning spaces for kids. We'll cover initiatives like the Armstrong Healthy Spaces Ecosystem, the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, and the Lancet COVID-19 Commission. She'll also provide some suggestions on how schools can use ESSER funds to address environmental quality issues in schools before the funds expire. This episode is sponsored by Armstrong World Industries.

Duration: 24 min


See Something, Say Something

05/04/22

Our guest today is Jim Lee, the Enterprise Sales Director at Vector Solutions. He's worked with educational institutions ranging from small private schools to the largest districts in the country, helping organizations prevent incidents on campus through crowdsourced risk intelligence. Today, we'll discuss topics like common safety issues and concerns in schools, what to look for in an emergency communications system, and how these systems can help schools get ahead of issues to keep students, staff and facilities safe. We'll also talk about Alyssa's Law and a solution that helps schools meet its requirements.

Duration: 23 min


With the Press of a Button

04/11/22

Our guest today is Mark Berger, who’s the President and Chief Product Officer for Securitech Group, Inc. He’s here to discuss a school security solution that gives every student, teacher and staff member the agency to secure themselves in the event of an emergency with the press of a button. He’ll discuss its theory of operation and the installation process, as well as his own experience working with Sandy Hook Elementary School following the school shooting incident there in December 2012. This episode is sponsored by Securitech Group, Inc.

Duration: 26 min


Improve Building Health, Safety, and Security with Smart Sensor Technology

03/21/22

This episode's topic is "Improving Building Health, Safety and Security with Smart Sensor Technology," and our guest is Mike Davis, National Sales Manager for IPVideo. We'll talk about the different types of sensors and the variety of data they can collect, from physical to chemical to environmental to security. From there, we'll go into the limitless applications of what organizations can do with a "Swiss Army Knife" of sensors to keep building occupants safe and secure. This episode is sponsored by IPVideo.

Duration: 20 min


The Future of ID Card Issuance Technology

02/22/22

This episode's guests are Mike Mans, Senior Product Marketing Manager, and Tiffany Renz, Sales Director - North America, both from HID Global. We'll talk about how schools can get the best bang for their buck with ID card and badge issuance technology. We'll cover topics like the best benefits of different technologies on the market today; ways to increase the longevity of physical ID cards and badges; and how to streamline the issuance process for these credentials. We'll also talk about the place of physical ID badges in a world of mobile credentials and smart access control. This episode is sponsored by HID Global.

Duration: 29 min


Simply Speak: Seamless Communication Within Schools

01/26/22

Our guest today is Magen McGahee, the CFO for Galaxy Next Generation, Inc. In this episode, Magen and I discuss the importance of seamless communication within schools. We’ll talk about how a range of Galaxy products like G2 Secure, G2 Visual Alerts and G2 Link make both emergency and non-emergency communication throughout a school facility as easy as the touch of a button. Learn how these products were built from user feedback and how they’re helping solve problems in the Ed Tech industry. You’ll also learn more about an emergency communication solution that can initiate a lockdown procedure and contact law enforcement in one fluid motion. This episode is sponsored by Galaxy Next Generation, Inc.

Duration: 25 min


UV Light and Creating Cleaner Learning Environments

12/02/21

Disinfection techniques that help make classrooms safe for students, teachers and staff are still top of mind. Here to discuss some of the benefits of ultraviolet light disinfection are Bruce Ramsay, Brand Manager for Visioneering, and Tim Stevens, Director of Product Management for Certolux. We’ll touch on some facts and myths about UV light, the role of UV light in maintaining clean education spaces, the challenges that education professionals should be aware of when purchasing UV light technology, and the technology’s benefits for end users in educational facilities. This episode of Schools in Focus is sponsored by Viscor, a Leviton company.

Duration: 23 min


Creating Worry-Free Environments in Education

11/01/21

This episode’s guests are Elizabeth Bonner, design director for education and hard surface, and David Dembowitz, senior vice president of sales North America, both with Mohawk Group. We’ll discuss choosing the right flooring solutions and the impact it can have on creating healthier, worry-free spaces throughout the lifecycle of the installation. We’ll touch on topics like creating productive spaces for students & staff, the impact of COVID-19 on cleanliness standards, choosing the right flooring solution, and how to navigate the flooring decision making process. This episode is sponsored by Mohawk Group.

Duration: 40 min


Creating More Dynamic Learning Environments

10/07/21

Today's guest is Sue Ann Highland. Currently, she's the National Education Strategist for School Specialty, but previously, she served as an educator for more than 25 years as a school and district administrator, a curriculum director, teacher, and more. She's here to talk about how dynamic learning environments can help keep students active and engaged. We'll talk about the six instructional elements that support dynamic learning, the positive and negative impacts of the pandemic, the increased reliance of both students and teachers on the digital landscape, and the general impact of learning environments on a student's educational journey. This episode is sponsored by School Specialty.

Duration: 40 min


The Future of the Physical Campus

08/19/21

This episode’s guest is Benjamin Strain, Higher Education Design Leader for DLR Group. He's here to discuss an ongoing DLR research initiative called "The Evolution of Campus," which involves interviews and outreach to higher education institutions to help them navigate the pandemic, return to campus, and explore new spatial and design requirements to meet the needs of faculty and students. He reveals some common themes among all three rounds of research (so far) and addresses the question on everyone's mind: "What’s the future of the physical campus?"

Duration: 34 min


Braving the Gauntlet

07/19/21

As K–12 schools gear up to return to in-person learning for the coming school year, one district already has a success under its belt. The Muskego-Norway School District in Muskego, Wis., successfully went in-person, five days a week, for the entire 2020–21 academic year. Our guest today is Tony Spence, the Chief Information Officer for that district. He takes a deep dive into explaining the logistics behind pulling off such a unique feat. He explains what went into creating the district’s plan, committing to it and—most importantly—effectively communicating that plan to students, parents, staff and administrators.

Duration: 45 min


Well, Now What?

06/21/21

Jonathan Matta, National Education Leader with KI Furniture, takes us through a bird's-eye view of lessons learned from the pandemic. We address topics like learning vs. education, why the term "learning loss" is a bit of a misnomer, re-imagining learning culture, the importance of flexible learning spaces, and how to give students agency in their own educational process. We also talk about how reflections of the shift in learning culture over the last decade can be found in everything from Star Wars to The Office. Sponsored by KI Furniture

Duration: 43 min


Flooring Design Solutions in the Era of COVID-19

06/14/21

Interior design plays a fundamental role in not only making education spaces functional, but also in creating a calm, soothing environment for students and faculty alike. Aesthetics—from color selection to layout—are crucial in helping schools re-emerge from the pandemic as safe spaces that promote emotional and psychological well-being.

Here to shed further light on the topic are David Dembowitz and Royce Epstein from the Mohawk Group, and Rebekah Matheny from the Ohio State University. Today’s episode is sponsored by Mohawk Group.

Duration: 49 min


Safe Air in Schools

06/09/21

Maintaining indoor air quality has gained renewed importance as K–12 students around the country prepare to return to in-person learning full time. It’s one of the timeliest, most important methods of keeping learning environments safe as the COVID pandemic winds down. And the more we learn, the more we refine and revise what we thought we knew. Our guest is Scott Huffmaster, the commercial HVAC leader for indoor air quality for North America for Trane Technologies, Inc. This episode is sponsored by Trane.

Duration: 32 min


Best Practices for ID Card Issuance

05/26/21

K–12 schools and colleges issue ID cards to students, faculty, staff, and sometimes even visitors to campus. The logistics of creating and printing these cards—especially Smart Cards with technical capabilities—are more complicated than you might think. Here to break down the process are Senior Product Marketing Manager Mike Mans and Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives David O’Driscoll, both with HID Global. Sponsored by HID Global.

Duration: 35 min


Mastering the Strategic Master Plan

04/29/21

When it comes to designing an educational facility, there's no such thing as "one size fits all." There’s a lot that goes into creating the strategic master plan for a school. Here to tell us more about that design process, both generally and specifically, is Elie Newman, Senior Principal at BNKC Architects, based in Toronto, Canada.

Duration: 55 min


Talking Campus Security with Mitch McKinley

02/08/21

In this special episode of Schools in Focus, Security Today and Campus Security & Life Safety Editor Ralph Jensen discusses securing a campus with President of M2 Consulting Mitch McKinley. Listen along as Ralph and Mitch talk about security from the outside in

Duration: 20 min


Indoor Air Quality

01/15/21

One way schools and universities can mitigate the COVID-19 risk is to utilize their HVAC systems to circulate clean fresh air. In this episode, Mike Wolf, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Greenheck, and Ron Wendorski, Director of the Bernard A. Greenheck Education Center, talk about indoor air quality in classrooms. They explain how foundational technologies like increased air ventilation and filtration can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. They also explain how additive technologies like ultraviolet technology and bipolar ionization can help. We also discuss cost-effective ways to improve HVAC systems and the long-term benefits of indoor air quality.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 41 min


KSU's New Multicultural Student Center

12/08/20

Ishita Banerjii, project architect at Hollis + Miller, discusses Kansas State University’s new multicultural student center. The building, dedicated to advance student diversity, features various gathering spaces like dance studios, huddle rooms, and a commercial kitchen. We discuss the vision behind the center, how the team incorporated feedback from numerous student groups, and the significance of having a multicultural student center on campus in the Midwest.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 32 min


Centering Student Health and Wellness in Design

11/10/20

Turan Duda and Jeff Paine, founding principals of Duda|Paine Architects, discuss how architectural design is shifting to better address the mental and physical health needs of students. They talk about destigmatizing health centers, creating a welcoming, comfortable space with choice, the use of natural materials, and the importance of prevention in student wellness.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 36 min


Active Shooter Response Planning

10/13/20

If a shooting happened on your campus, do you know what to do? In this episode, we speak to Tom Saccenti, a former campus police chief and security expert, about active shooter response planning in schools. We discuss the first thing schools should do when forming a response plan, the importance of knowing the school’s layout and ensuring there is a parent-student reunification plan.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 26 min


School Lunch During a Pandemic

09/08/20

Belinda Oakley, CEO of Chartwells K12 and Seth Ferriell, CEO of SSC Services for Education talk about school food service during a pandemic. We discuss various models of food service to accommodate social distancing such as lunch in classrooms and take home meal kits; keeping cafeterias and classrooms clean; sustainable options to combat the increase of paper and plastic; and innovation in the K-12 food service industry.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 38 min


Rethinking Higher Ed Spaces

08/12/20

Stu Rothenberger, who leads DLR Group’s Global Higher Education Studio, and his team talked to over 85 higher ed institutions and discussed their concerns and questions about reopening in the fall. Stu shared some of their findings with Schools In Focus and how DLR Group is rethinking higher ed spaces in the process. We discussed flexibility on a campus scale, the need for long-term resiliency plans, tackling equity issues, and creating smaller interaction spaces in a post-COVID19 learning environment.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 29 min