Devised as an open-concept school in 1979, Truman Elementary School lacked interior partitions and individual classrooms, emphasizing cross-grade collaboration. However, the open-concept design lacked acoustic treatments, storage, display areas, and opportunities to embrace 21st century learning pedagogies.
With the new school design by Bassetti Architects, the district re-imagined a place to accommodate increased enrollment while continuing to embrace the school culture that supports collaboration for students, staff, families, and the community. Staff was enthusiastically involved in the design of their student's educational experience -- a school that supports open-concept collaboration, traditional teaching, differentiated instruction, and project-based learning.
The new school is divided into high-energy and quiet-energy spaces separated by a secure outdoor courtyard. The north building houses “high-energy” spaces such as movement, music, art, a physical education “fitnasium” space, a cafeteria, and the commons. The south building houses “quiet-energy” learning activities such as the learning stairs, media center, and learning communities.
The learning communities, or pods, contain perimeter classrooms that open into a collaborative studio area that features smaller breakout areas and makerspaces. Truman’s education model places social-emotional learning on par with academic learning. The “push out” spaces in each learning community provide students with safe spaces for self-reflection or individual learning.