The Ronald E. McNair Middle School is Fulton County Schools’ first example of a facility design based on the principles of project-based Immersive Learning.
By introducing Immersive Learning concepts and further developing district-specific ideas originally presented in a two-day charrette, Stevens & Wilkinson and Immersive Learning consultant, LITTLE, transformed the conventional wing design of their previous middle schools into groups of instructional spaces organized as “neighborhoods.”
Individual classrooms and science labs in each wing were reconfigured into three distinct yet interconnected neighborhoods, also known as learning communities. The redesign allows teachers to interact with more than one class at a time, evoking a greater sense of community and communication between learning areas. Students can remain in their neighborhoods for the better part of a school day, freely circulating between productive spaces designed for class, labs and teamwork.
The neighborhood includes four connected classroom areas and a workshop/ lab, along with a series of adjoining collaborative spaces for individual study, small group activities, and a tiered lecture space. In addition, a strategically located teacher planning area is at the center of the neighborhood.
The outcome of this effective Immersive Learning design has proven so successful for McNair Middle School that the same design principles were developed for a series of middle school additions in a separate part of the district.