Wodonga Middle Years

Copyright Danish Kurani

Wodonga Middle Years College is an intermediate school (grades 7-9) in Victoria, Australia seeking to offer students exceptional learning opportunities through a project based, design-thinking curriculum and a strengthened relationship with the local community. Kurani assessed the existing campus performance and developed strategies to optimize the physical environment in support of this goal.

Key findings from Campus Assessment:

  • Only 2% of campus space dedicated to Arts and Music, and just 9 of 49 classrooms enable students to get messy and learn by doing
  • Students have been conditioned to think a certain way (analytically vs. creatively) based on what room they are in
  • 97% of campus is enclosed by fences, physically and symbolically isolating the school from its community
  • Campus canteen is too small to provide meals for all students and staff, resulting in hunger and diminished attention levels and performance
  • Derelict infrastructure forces school leaders to sacrifice primary duties and play the role of plumbers, bus drivers, and handymen
  • ICT rooms and technology resources are inadequate for simple design-thinking exercises such as building 3d computer models

Key strategies proposed:

  • Provide services for Parents including adult education, job training, and computer resources, because getting them on campus is the first step to involving them in their child’s education
  • Since canteen cannot serve entire school and the neighborhood is a food dessert, convert gymnasium building into a community cafeteria, and share the Wodonga Primary gymnasium across the street
  • Eliminate fence and front yard and extend school buildings to the sidewalk where they become urban storefronts and invite passersby to see the action inside
  • Partner with aged care provider to build senior living on campus to foster inter-generational learning, offer students work experiences in a top local industry, and generate revenue with the excess campus space

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