Lake Washington High School, WA
A $436 million bond passed in 2006 gave Lake Washington High School (LWHS) the opportunity to rebuild their foundation and completely redefine their curriculum to support 21st century learning. A research group comprised of the school principal and teachers reviewed best practices in secondary education, traveling across the US to learn from schools exhibiting excellence in education. One of the biggest changes was that students are now divided into four houses, in which they will stay connected and have a consistent group of teachers throughout their entire high school career.
To support this new educational model, much of the design emphasis was put into collaborative spaces. According to principal, Christina Thomas, “All the areas of the school are designed around collaboration and bringing groups of people together.” Each of the aforementioned houses consists of a flexible, adaptable learning commons centrally located among the classrooms. This environment for active learning is filled with 2-position chairs kids can move in, tablet-arm soft seating for a comfy place to study, movable tables ideal in high-traffic areas, and computer stations for individual research. Students can configure tables to meet the needs of their individual or group work and have access to technology around every corner. In the library an abundance of natural light falls on vignettes of soft seating, computer workstations and teaching areas.
After five years of researching, planning, and constructing the new high school the project reached fruition in the Fall of 2011. In 2012 Lake Washington High School was awarded the Washington State Achievement Award for Overall Excellence!