PAUL ABRAMSON'S COLUMN ON SCHOOL PLANNING
A compilation of Paul Abramson's "A Final Thought" column, as published in School Planning and Management magazine. Abramson is an educational consultant working with school districts on facilities and planning issues.
References to Journal Articles
Teachers Are the Wrong Target
School Planning and Management; , p78 ; May 2012
The problems of American educators won't be solved by attacking teachers and their unions.
How Big Is a 'Small' School?
School Planning and Management; , p98 ; Apr 2012
Defines not only the size of a small school, but also explores the atmosphere, the approach, and the community that defines a small school.
Fulfilling the Needs.
School Planning and Management; v50 n6 , p62 ; Jun 2011
Observes that, while fewer new schools are being built, there may be less need for new schools because of less movement of population. In renovations, an architect's plans for expansion might not be releveant, since schools typically need not just additional space, but different use of space. In some instances, removal of classrooms can open up spaces for larger corridors and can provide gathering space.
Avoid Costly Mistakes.
School Planning and Management; v50 n5 , p66 ; May 2011
Reviews the statistics on numbers of recently constructed schools, noting a recent decline. Concluding that school renovations will be more the norm in the short term, the author advises using renovations and upgrades to align facilities with current educational programming.
Learn from the Past.
School Planning and Management; v50 n2 , p54 ; Feb 2011
Urges school districts to retain closed school buildings rather than sell them, as many districts have found that when enrollment rebounded, they later needed buildings that they had sold. Ideally, a new school building should be designed to be easily converted to other community uses if it enters a period of underutilization, and ideas for adaptive re-use of existing schools are described.
Research on Research Centers.
School Planning and Management; v49 n12 , p54 ; Dec 2010
Makes the case that the amount of library space may now be reduced, but, at the same time, the number of librarians should be increased. More than ever, librarians are playing a key educational role. Librarians introduce children to reading, help students do research, and now how to use electronic media. This includes teaching the ethical use of material foud on the Internet.
Putting Some Numbers Together.
School Planning and Management; v49 n11 , p74 ; Nov 2010
Uses national data to illustrate large and small average state school sizes, as well as average student-teacher ratios.
What I Would Do with $100 Million.
School Planning and Management; v49 n10 , p82 ; Oct 2010
Notes that an announced $100 million gift to the Newark, New Jersey, Public Schools could be spent on many pet projects, but would not go very far building new schools.
A Job for True Political Leaders.
School Planning and Management; v49 n8 , p78 ; Aug 2010
Discusses changing the way tax revenue is related to school funding. The author argues that basing school income on real estate taxes, which are increasingly being capped by state and local jurisdictions, is no longer appropriate for providing services.
How Green Are Your School Buildings?
School Planning and Management; v49 n5 , p62 ; May 2010
Compares the energy-reducing projects at the time of the 1970's Arab Oil Boycott with the new technologies that must replace them now. The author states that the solutions used in the 1970's should not be "fixed". If an existing system would not be installed today, then it should not be fixed; it should be replaced.
Worthwhile School Books.
School Planning and Management; v49 n2 , p54 ; Feb 2010
Recommends two books that cover design of small school environments, and design for increased accessibility, respectively.
Hang On to Those Buildings.
School Planning and Management; v49 n1 , p94 ; Jan 2010
Advises on how to operate small schools when enrollment declines, in order to avoid selling school buildings that might be needed when enrollment rebounds. Multi-grade classrooms, careful scheduling of school specialists, doing without a principal, and inviting community programs to use surplus space are discussed.
Do Your Schools Serve Their Communities?
School Planning and Management; v48 n10 , p58 ; Oct 2009
Advises on the design of community schools, emphasizing co-location of facilities that serve the students, as well as seniors, health and recreation departments, law enforcement, early childhood, and extended education.
How to Go from Large to Small.
School Planning and Management; v48 n6 , p66 ; Jun 2009
Advises on reorganizing large high schools into smaller learning academies. Recommended group sizes, along with separate academic facilities, commons areas, cafeterias, entrances, and support spaces are addressed.
Time to Move to the Future.
School Planning and Management; v48 n5 , p62 ; May 2009
Advises that architects understand the need to design schools that are not replicas or renovations of past practices, but reflections of evolving educational delivery and technology.
Can Kindergarten Play Increase Test Scores?
School Planning and Management; v48 n4 , p106 ; Apr 2009
Laments the gradual disappearance of play elements from full-year kindergartens, as many have evolved into classrooms that resemble first grade. Test scores illustrate that the inclusion of play at the kindergarten level produces higher academic achievement.
Which Grass is Greener?
School Planning and Management; v48 n3 , p78 ; Mar 2009
Discusses advantages of and reactions against artificial athletic turfs, which provide necessary year-round availability, but are sometimes regarded with suspicion due to the possible presence of toxins in turf, and the mistaken impression that they are not as environmentally friendly as natural turf fields.