Paul Abramson's Column on School Planning

Title Abstract Publication Date
A Chance to Change Codes. Laments the negative effect of some state codes on innovative school design, and proposes participation in an upcoming conference to help resolve the problem. 01/31/2008
A Classroom's Size Determines Its Capacity. Reviews the evolution in classroom capacity as educational programming has changed and offers a contemporary formula for determining a classroom's capacity based on its size and the furnishings... 11/30/2007
A Demographic Projecting Wrinkle. Describes projecting school enrollment by examining ethnic trends, which may help produce accurate forecasts for school districts of any size, especially when the majority population is in decline,... 12/31/2005
A Design Today with Tomorrow in Mind. Advocates design of schools to accommodate evolution in instructional methods, including elimination of double-loaded corridors, a minimum of 900 square feet per classroom, and accommodation of small... 04/30/2008
A Few Common School Issues. Describes four problems that all school systems seem to face at some point: how to plan and design middle schools, how to accommodate updated science instruction, how to include special education... 09/30/2004
A Giant Half Step. Reviews possibilities for contemporary classroom arrangement when a more traditional double-loaded corridor school design is desired. Size of classrooms, technology integration, and clustering... 02/28/2007
A Good Resource. Suggests ways to help establish autonomous territories for small schools within larger facilities, even when cost constraints prohibit true separation of the schools. The use of interior building... 01/31/2006
A Job for True Political Leaders. Discusses changing the way tax revenue is related to school funding. The author argues that basing school income on real estate taxes, which are increasingly being capped by state and local... 07/31/2010
Avoid Costly Mistakes. Reviews the statistics on numbers of recently constructed schools, noting a recent decline. Concluding that school renovations will be more the norm in the short term, the author advises using... 04/30/2011
Can Kindergarten Play Increase Test Scores? Laments the gradual disappearance of play elements from full-year kindergartens, as many have evolved into classrooms that resemble first grade. Test scores illustrate that the inclusion of play at... 03/31/2009
Can You Cut Budgets and Improve Programs? Presents ideas for creative planning ahead to provide equal or better services at lower costs, particularly in a situation where budget cuts are inevitable. 01/31/2003
Closing Up an Open School. Describes an open school that parents, and some teachers, want to divide into classrooms. The infrastructure of the school must be repaired, but common areas work well as they are and certain aspects... 03/31/2005
Computer Labs in Elementary Schools? Advocates combined computer labs adjacent to libraries in elementary schools, preferably with glass between them for acoustical separation that doesn't limit visibility. Stand-alone computer... 06/30/2005
Creative, Positive Responses to Tight Budgets. Examines the viability of a four-day school week, more walking to school, and reducing paper use as ways to save money in schools. 09/30/2008
Do Your Schools Serve Their Communities? Advises on the design of community schools, emphasizing co-location of facilities that serve the students, as well as seniors, health and recreation departments, law enforcement, early childhood, and... 09/30/2009
Don't Skimp on Classroom Size. Recommends classrooms of at least 900 square feet, in order to provide sufficient space for current teaching modalities. 06/30/2008
Election Day Follow-Up. Reviews how younger voters in the November, 2008, election helped pass a substantial number of bond issues. Predictions and advice concerning the potential of significant federal funding for school... 11/30/2008
From Small School to Harvard. Cites the case of a New York City high school student that was lost in a system of large schools, but found support in an small alternative school that enabled her to gain entrance to Harvard. 10/31/2005
Fulfilling the Needs. Observes that, while fewer new schools are being built, there may be less need for new schools because of less movement of population. In renovations, an architect's plans for expansion might... 05/31/2011
Get the Most from Your Architect. Advises school districts on preparations that should be made before interviewing architects. A long-range plan including the numbers of students, educational program, and modes of instruction should... 07/31/2006
Giving Students Some Space. Discusses increases in space-per-pupil since 1970, and advocates determining space provision according to the educational program, rather than arbitrary space goals and figures reflecting national or... 04/30/2006
Hang On to Those Buildings. Advises on how to operate small schools when enrollment declines, in order to avoid selling school buildings that might be needed when enrollment rebounds. Multi-grade classrooms, careful scheduling... 12/31/2009
How Big Is a 'Small' School? Defines not only the size of a small school, but also explores the atmosphere, the approach, and the community that defines a small school. 03/31/2012
How Green Are Your School Buildings? Compares the energy-reducing projects at the time of the 1970's Arab Oil Boycott with the new technologies that must replace them now. The author states that the solutions used in the 1970'... 04/30/2010
How Inflation Erodes School Construction. Illustrates how the record $20.7 billion spent on school construction in 2007 is actually less, in real dollars, than in 1974, due to inflation. 02/29/2008