How K-12 Facilities Impact Student Learning and Health
A growing amount of research has discovered that school facilities can significantly affect the performance of teachers and students. School facilities management has an impact on hiring, retaining, committing, and working hard for teachers. As well as on students' behavior, engagement, learning, and academic growth. Thus, studies typically come to the conclusion that it is very challenging to serve a large number of children with complex needs in the absence of proper facilities and resources.
School Facilities Overview
According to the US General Accounting Office (GAO), nearly three-fourths of US schools that were still in operation in 1996 were built before 1970. Of these schools, almost one-third required major maintenance or replacement, and nearly two-thirds had at least one problematic structural component, such as shoddy plumbing, roofing, or electrical setups. Additionally, 58% had at least one problematic environmental feature, such as poor acoustics, ventilation, or security.
Researchers have discovered that, in addition to normal maintenance and construction difficulties, most schools lack the infrastructure, laboratories, and classroom space necessary for the 21st century. More than half do not have classrooms that are adaptable enough for teaching to take place.
Therefore, the effectiveness of the facilities management is a key indicator of both teacher retention and student learning. Building safe, healthy environments is crucial because it affects both the physical and mental well-being of both kids and teachers.
School Facilities and Student Health
Researchers have discovered that k12 facilities have an impact on students' learning. When students are at ease, they can concentrate better, are more likely to show up to class, and may even be less likely to become sick. All of these characteristics are attained in classrooms with adequate lighting, ventilation, and cleaning procedures. Students who are neither uncomfortable or distracted by their surroundings are better able to pay attention and remember information
Teachers fall under the same concept. A teacher can focus on the kids when there are no outside distractions. It seems to make sense that instructors will enjoy their workday much more if the workplace is secure, healthy, and pleasant, benefiting children in the process. Since talented teachers may be easier to attract and senior teachers may be less likely to depart, favorable school facility conditions are expected to boost educational outcomes.
Suitable school facilities offer many advantages over just a better learning environment. The teachers' and pupils' physical health has significantly improved.
The Value of Healthy School Facilities
It takes ongoing juggling to balance competing priorities when managing and maintaining school buildings. If your schools are like the majority of them, you are attempting to balance these responsibilities without having the staff or resources necessary to accomplish your objectives.
Your buildings see a lot of use from both staff and students. Actually, K12 facilities account for over 987 hours of the average US student's yearly time. As the manager of your buildings, it is your duty to stay on top of the to-do lists and maintain a safe workplace for workers and students.
School Facilities Impact on Students' Health in 6 Ways
1. Noise and acoustics
Noise levels have a big impact on how well students and teachers do. In actuality, both teachers and students experience stress and dissatisfaction as a result of excessive noise. According to research, schools with quieter classroom environments are related with higher levels of student engagement and accomplishment than those with noisier environments. Thus, constructing school facilities that isolate classrooms from outside noise can enhance student performance.
2. The quality of air
Indoor air quality is also a problem because it significantly increases absenteeism among asthmatic kids. According to research, many schools experience "sick building syndrome," which impacts all students' performance and absence. Furthermore, facilities management with subpar ventilation systems are frequently where one can find the germs, viruses, and allergies that contribute to pediatric illness.
Additionally, office equipment, flooring materials, paints, adhesives, cleaning supplies, insecticides, and insects all generate indoor pollutants. Children may suffer from any of these environmental risks, especially if they attend schools with inadequate ventilation.
Prior to the development of affordable electricity, schools frequently used natural lighting as k12 facilities. The amount of artificial light utilized in schools rose as electric power costs decreased.
According to research, natural lighting benefits people in schools, whereas artificial lighting has the opposite effect. In fact, studies have shown that proper levels of natural illumination in classrooms not only increase student and teacher mood but also cut down on distractions and boost test performance.
According to one study, kids who were taught in settings with more natural light made 20% more success in math and 26% more advanced in reading than those who received less natural light.
4. Proper temperature and temperature control
The temperature in facilities management of the workspace has been shown to impact employee engagement levels and overall productivity, including student accomplishment, in studies including people of all ages. Anyone who has attempted to work in an uncomfortable environment, such as a hot or cold office or classroom, is aware of how challenging it may be. The best studies suggest that 68° to 74° is the ideal temperature range for learning mathematics and reading.
Teachers often need to be able to manage the temperature in their own classroom in order to maintain such a temperature in every classroom within a school. The temperature of small clusters of classrooms that receive the same amount of sunshine and are similarly exposed to outside temperatures should at the very least be adjustable by teachers.
5. Classroom size and space
Students' hostility has frequently been found to be higher in overcrowded classes and schools. Additionally, overcrowded classrooms are linked to lower levels of student engagement and, consequently, lower levels of learning.
On the other hand, large classrooms are more suited to creating optimal k12 facilities learning environments for children and are linked to higher levels of learning and engagement. With the current focus on 21st-century learning, which includes making sure kids can work in teams, solve problems, and communicate effectively, classroom space is especially pertinent. Using various teaching techniques that align with skills is made possible in classrooms with enough space to rearrange seating arrangements. Having smaller learning centers and private study spaces helps students grow and achieve more while reducing visual and auditory distractions.
6. Learning in the Twenty-first Century
The necessity to guarantee that kids learn 21st century abilities including cooperation, collaboration, effective communication, and other talents is currently in the spotlight among policymakers, educators, and businesspeople. As was already mentioned, teaching 21st century skills in older buildings is just not possible. This is especially true when it comes to changing facilities management to accommodate diverse teaching and learning methods and using technology as a teaching and learning method in the classroom.
Updated Facilities and the Learning Environment
Our strategy for enhancing school facilities must change along with instructional methodologies. At the moment, that means adaptability, technological availability, and participatory learning.
The advantages of upgrading k12 facilities are extensive. You may support your students' learning at all times during the day by providing glare-free lighting in the classroom and freely flowing air conditioning in the gym. Changes in a student's environment have an impact on a variety of educational fields.
Approach to Facilities Management
Over the past century, a substantial body of research has repeatedly established that school facilities have a significant impact on teaching and learning. However, state and municipal officials frequently fail to take into account the role that facilities management can play in raising standards for both teachers and children. Although investing in facilities improvement has a financial cost, the rewards sometimes outweigh the initial financial expenditures. Therefore, while making decisions about improving school facilities, policymakers should give more thought to the effects of the facilities and adopt a long-term cost-benefit perspective.
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