Securing Full-time Classrooms for Full-time Teachers

In September, the PAT Representative Assembly passed our Resolution on School Design and Utilization, expressing the belief that  “new and remodeled school buildings should be designed with the intention for all full-time teachers to have full-time classrooms.”

Since September, PAT leadership and high school educators have been working hard to support this resolution, by pushing for the district to modify the Ed Specs for high schools. We finally have a tangible result!

The district has recently posted Revised High School Ed Specs, in response to teacher concerns. While they don’t go so far as to guarantee a full-time classroom for every full-time educator, they do create a pathway for school communities to achieve this goal through the redesign process. The revised Ed Specs include the following revisions:

  • Formerly several types of spaces were listed as “required” in redesigned high schools, at the expense of classroom space: teacher offices, extended learning spaces, and small instructional areas. The revised document makes these spaces “optional,” allowing for more space to be allocated to classrooms.  
  • Similarly, language referring to square footage allocation for those same “optional” spaces was changed from “required” to “recommended.”
  • An introduction was added, clarifying a stakeholder process, and outlining scenarios for high schools to be built at 95%, 85%, and 75% utilization within these specifications.

As more of our schools move into the redesign process, we will continue to fight for teacher voices to be central to design making. We are hopeful that these revisions will not only make that process easier, but indicate that district leaders are realizing that listening to teacher input in the first place will lead to better outcomes for students and school communities.