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Flexible Design Optimizes Homerooms and Libraries

The new facilities that will open in September 2018 will enable our Saint David’s faculty to be all they can be. It will expand and enhance what and how they teach throughout the school program.
The following article, by Assistant Headmaster Ali Aoyama, appears in the current issue of Saint David's Magazine. It addresses how homerooms and libraries will be optimized. 

Cut-away of Saint David’s new spaces, from 89th Street perspective, courtesy of Platt Byard Dovell White, June 2017
To be leaders in today’s world, our boys will need to be able to listen to the perspectives of others, clearly articulate their own ideas, and collaborate with teams to achieve a common goal. For years, we have cultivated these skills in cramped quarters. The new facility will afford us many more opportunities to nourish critical thinking and communication skills by engaging boys in discussion groups, debates, collaborative learning, and problem solving experiences.

Larger, Contiguous Homerooms

The new homerooms will be larger and more square in shape, providing teachers with more options for how they are able to arrange the desks, optimizing the learning experience for boys. For a class discussion or debate, the teacher may decide to configure the desks in a circle or u-shape. When boys are working in teams, the desks may be set up in pairs or in small groups. The larger spaces will afford teachers the ability to tailor the layout to the learning experience.

Fifth Grade Commons, courtesy of Platt Byard Dovell White, June 2017
The addition of the Graham House will also allow us to strategically group homerooms together by grade level, allowing for easy movement between classrooms and cross-grade level connections. Beginning in Fourth Grade, each homeroom suite will include a Commons where boys can come together to collaborate.

The Commons will be outfitted with tables, chairs, and soft seating. It will extend the size of the homerooms and allow boys to spread out when working in research groups or problem solving in teams. Boys will be able to huddle around a table as they share their ideas and document their thinking. The Commons will provide boys with the space they need to work together.

Lower School Library, courtesy of Platt Byard Dovell White, June 2017
New Suite of Libraries
The new Upper and Lower School Library Suite will be connected by a common space, which will integrate the library experience for the boys. With shared office space, Upper School Librarian Gwen Kaplan, Lower School Librarian Gretchen King, and Upper School Assistant Librarian Winnie Feng will more easily be able to collaborate, increasing the opportunities for cross fertilization in the library program.

The new Lower School Library, designed specifically for the needs of younger boys, will feature a designated story time space and a variety of seating options. The open layout will allow the boys to easily move around and browse the collection independently, with books located on low shelves. Because the boys will have been exposed to the Upper School Library throughout their younger years, the transition from Third to Fourth Grade will be eased.

 Upper School Library, courtesy of Platt Byard Dovell White, June 2017.
The Upper School Library will feature cozy nooks, window seats, and private spaces where small groups of students will be able to collaborate on research projects. Boys will also come together in the common space, where they may settle in to read, or share thoughts about a book or project.

In addition, the school will feature a Humanities Reading Room, stocked with the Maiocco Collection, where some of the Eighth Grade boys’ Humanities classes will be taught. Teachers will have access to a Faculty Reading Room, containing collections on pedagogy as well as higher level non-fiction and fiction in the academic areas in which they teach.

The flexible design of the new homerooms and libraries will allow the educational program at Saint David’s School to realize its full potential. The size, placement, and configuration of homerooms will greatly enhance the exchange of ideas across each grade, and our libraries will be true centers for collaborative research and scholarship. The optimized learning experiences will ensure that Saint David’s boys will go on to be good men who are equipped to lead.

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