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K-8 school will help students learn by conducting expeditions in their own communities

K-8 school will help students learn by conducting expeditions in their own communities

The Peck Expeditionary Learning School will feature flexible classrooms and decompression spaces. And instead of a cafeteria, the school will bring meals to students where they are.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | September 7, 2022
Peck Learning School Courtyard
Courtesy SHP.

In August, SHP, an architecture, design, and engineering firm, broke ground on the new Peck Expeditionary Learning School in Greensboro, N.C. 

Replacing the current Clara J. Peck Neighborhood K-5 Elementary, the Peck Expeditionary Learning School will be the district’s first building to adopt the K-8 model. Expeditionary Learning (EL) centers the curriculum around multidisciplinary learning expeditions that can take an entire semester for small or large groups to complete. Instead of revolving around classroom-based instruction, the learning expeditions encourage students to engage in interactive, iterative learning in their own communities.

The new school will house five learning communities that bring together similar grade levels, so students can collaborate with their own age groups. Each learning community will include spaces for student project displays, hands-on learning, and community engagement. Flexible classrooms will facilitate multiple instruction methods, while decompression spaces will help students cope with emotional challenges. Instead of a traditional cafeteria, a distributed dining system will bring meals to the students where they are.

“Following the feedback we heard from students, staff, and the community, we aimed to create a high-quality, student-focused environment capable of fostering an entire generation of lifelong learners,” David Powell, SHP architect and senior project manager, said in a statement.

In recent years, SHP has completed several other school projects designed for progressive pedagogies, such as the lower and upper school campuses at Winton Woods City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio—one of the country’s first school district-wide redesigns to support Project-Based Learning (PBL).

On the Building Team:
Owner: Guilford County Schools
Design architect: SHP
Architect of record: SHP
MEP engineer: SAMR
Structural engineer: Lynch-Mykins
Construction manager at risk, joint venture: Christman/D.A. Everett

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