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.


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


COVID19 and the Impact on School Design

05/11/20

As schools across the country figure out how to safely reopen schools, we wonder: how will COVID-19 impact school design? Senior editor Yvonne Marquez discusses with Sylvia Kowalk and Robin Randall from Legat Architects on what changes we might see as schools reopen. They discuss design options available to schools now that can help with social distancing in facilities, what we can learn from other countries who have already reopened, and the long-term impacts of COVID-19 to educational environments.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 29 min


Expert Advice on COVID-19 Cleaning

04/15/20

In this episode, we talk about the short-term and long-term goals of keeping school facilities clean amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Greg Whiteley — a specialist in cleaning science, hygiene and disinfection — describes how the virus works and how it affects children. He also outlines cleaning goals for the next year and provides practical advice for custodial workers.

Duration: 26 min


2020 Education Design Trends

03/04/20

Senior Editor Yvonne Marquez interviews Todd Ferking, a principal at DLR Group about education design trends to watch in 2020 and beyond. Collaborative commons, makerspaces, emerging technologies, flipped classrooms, research-based design and more!

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 31 min


Designing Library Interiors

01/15/20

In the first episode of Schools In Focus podcast, Senior Editor Yvonne Marquez interviews Andrew Hausmann, an associate principal at Perkins and Will. They speak about Shanghai American School's library transformation, its role as a central hub on campus, and how creativity and imagination were key to the space design.

Music by Joseph McDade

Duration: 30 min


Sponsored Content

Smart Lockers Now and Beyond the Pandemic

Campus operations of all kinds were severely impacted by the pandemic, as were many of the habits and expectations of students, parents, faculty and staff. Some of those changes, it appears, will outlast the pandemic — including advances in the way packages are delivered and tracked on campus. Read this Q&A with the Editor to find out more.