AISD invests in unique learning environments

People in a room

The Austin Independent School District classrooms are getting redesigned furniture—including improved desks and tables—that will create a better learning environment for students and teachers.

Austin Design Week, an annual week of free workshops and events to celebrate the creative community, recently held a panel of designers and school administrators who spoke on the changes being made in AISD classrooms. On the panel was Ty Davidson, executive director of Middle Schools; Menchaca Elementary Principal Eliza Loyola; Design Director Kate Mraw, and Beth Wilson, executive director of Planning and Asset Management.

The panel discussed the positives of modernizing classrooms with new furniture and flexible workspaces that will ultimately improve a child’s learning experience. The new desks and tables are specifically designed for the modern classroom.

“We want to provide access and opportunities for all students. There is no better way to create that environment than to provide things like flexible seating, to think about the lighting in a school and think about outdoor classroom space as well,” Davidson said. “But it all is contingent to talking to the community. We have to get input from the community about what is needed and what is best for those students in that specific community.”

Most of the new furniture is flexible, which means it can be moved to create new spaces as needed. This gives students and teachers a dynamic workspace that is always changing.

“We are one of the very first campuses on the modernization project, and we are in the process of transitioning to our modernized space in six weeks,” Loyola said. “It’s a really exciting time for us and we are proud to be one of the first schools in the district to be making these changes.”

Menchaca is one of three schools in the district that has begun modernizing classrooms and its furniture.

“The way we communicate is changing rapidly so schools are starting to catch up and surpass all of the things we are seeing around the globe. Austin is part of that shift and we wanted to make sure that facilities supported all the teaching and learning that is starting to accrue to really line with what we need to be seeing in education.”

For more information on school modernization projects, visit