Education architect visits campus

On March 21, the usual stream of parents, administrators, teachers, and students who check in at the main office included one architect. Frank Kelly, an architect and planner for the educational architecture firm SHW Group, visited Kerr because he had heard about the school’s unusual setup.

“We [SHW Group] don’t do anything but design schools, and I have a particular passion for high schools,” he said. He is especially interested in schools that are not designed from the “cookie-cutter” mode, and cites J. Lloyd Trump’s 1977 book A School for Everyone as the reason for his interest in Kerr.

Trump, an author, educator, and former official of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, is responsible for putting forward many of the ideas that Kerr is built upon–ideas such as centers, independent learning and seminars. Kelly visited a school based on Trump’s ideas in Vancouver, Canada, but only recently became aware of Kerr.

“This is the first time I’ve seen this sort of school here and I’m very, very impressed,” he said. “It’s great to see kids working like this, talking to each other and not lined up in classrooms listening to the teacher talk.”

Kelly is the co-author of the book “Teaching the Digital Generation: No More Cookie-Cutter High Schools” with Ted D.E. McCain and Ian Jukes.