< Back to Articles
Helping to Raise the Bar for 21st Century Learning Environments
April 25, 2018
Wiseburn High School, recently constructed for the Wiseburn Unified School District (WUSD), served as the perfect backdrop for the 2018 EdShift Conference held in El Segundo, California in April 2018. Balfour Beatty provided construction management-at-risk services to build the transformative project, which now stands as a model of excellence for 21st Century learning.
The EdShift conference brought together district and school educators, students, community members, and other education stakeholders for an interactive discussion about transforming the face of K-12 education into high impact learning environments. More than 100 people participated in the one-day conference that featured opening remarks from Rex Miller, Kevin Baird, chairman and senior faculty, Global Center for College and Career Readiness; and Marshall Tuck, candidate for California state superintendent.
Brian Cahill, division president for Balfour Beatty in California and co-author of Humanizing the Education Machine, was also a presenter along with the book’s other co-authors Rex Miller and Bill Latham, CEO of MeTEOR Education. Additional instructional experts joined in group discussions after the completion of a guided tour throughout the 210,000-square-foot space. Reflections and observations from the tour initiated further group interaction from a student panel who focused on new ideas for a more personalized learning environment. Bill Latham provided closing remarks with a call to action for educators to implement real changes in their districts.
“I’m proud to be part of the effort to promote participatory teaching and learning environments where students are actively engaged, working in respectful, collaborative environments,” said Brian Cahill. “Districts moving towards incorporating these types of learning spaces are not only preparing students for jobs, they are preparing them for futures with endless possibilities, turns in the road, and opportunities that don’t even exist yet.”
The Wiseburn High School building is an example of collaboration as well as innovation. The WUSD was previously a K-8 district, but partnered with Da Vinci charter schools in 2015 to transform a former office building into the high school. The renovated building now houses the administrative headquarters for both the district and charter school network and was designed to better facilitate instructional strategies such as small-group instruction and collaborative learning. Its 72 classrooms are outfitted with furniture that can be rearranged into numerous small-group configurations and include sinks and mobile workbenches for makerspaces. The building also has a black box theater with retractable seating and several indoor and outdoor breakout areas.