ARC programs show students how to use what they're learning in the real world.
· Reinforce students’ learning through applied science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) concepts
· Establish partnerships among families, schools, communities and businesses
The mission of the Architecture Resource Center (ARC) is to improve creative and problem-solving skills in K-12 students through the principles of:
· Urban design
· Industrial design
· Graphic design
A design education organization, the ARC provides creative learning experiences for K-12 students, teachers and community organizations, which are participatory, interdisciplinary, and collaborative in approach.
ARC develops and implements projects and programs that integrate the built environment and design problem solving as a natural component of learning, from classroom curriculum to statewide initiatives. This is made possible through collaboration with a diverse team of educators, scholars, architects, planners, designers, and leaders of cultural organizations, business, and government agencies. ARC’s program has been cited as a prototype for education/business partnerships and has received local, state, and national awards year after year for education and creativity.
ARC programs are organized into three categories: K-12 School Programs, Community/Festival Programs and Outreach.
2016 ARC activities were focused on developing, delivering, and expanding our Design Connections Partnership (DCP), now in its 6th year partnering with New Haven Public Schools Math Department, Yale University School of Architecture and Southern CT State University Education Department.
1 Management: Compensation for a salaried executive director to support tasks related to development of sustainability strategies as well as funding for staff professional development (leadership, fund, and financial development and design ed study) and organizational change work.
2 Unrestricted Funds: ARC funding is exclusively project-based. The day-to-day expenses like website hosting, design, maintenance, office equipment upgrades, and general supplies are not covered by these grants. We have no endowment and are responsible for raising our total budget each year.
3 Digital Marketing: We need a budget for a paid consultant to direct and manage website design & administration, hosting, social media outreach, email and direct mail messaging used collectively to create campaigns designed to raise funds to support the organization.
4 Board Members: We are currently seeking to expand Board membership, particularly for those with interest and experience in marketing and social media, technology and fundraising. Please get in touch if you are interested in applying!
5 Business Sponsorships: The support of local businesses provides a great boost to ARC’s work. Sponsorship opportunities available generally include in-kind donations of classroom materials & supplies.
not to like working with students–
"This program is so cool, cooler than all the other programs, Ms. Sanko you rule. We all love this program."
Through these design problem-solving applications students learn basic subjects in an interactive environment that promotes the recall and reuse of information. They learn to make logical connections, identify cause and effect, draw analogies, and think critically at the highest level. Using simplified techniques from the design professions, students learn to plan, design, construct models and drawings, experiment, discover, interpret, discriminate, revise and justify their thinking.
Neighborhood architectural walking tours are conducted to learn how to “read” a building, both structurally and aesthetically. Building materials and their qualities are observed, recorded, and analyzed. Students discuss rural, suburban, and urban land use similarities and differences. Common community values are discussed to understand design project ramifications: overall town character, social, physical, economic, environmental, and traffic and parking issues.
Students learn about structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering design principles. They explore current building materials, methods, and construction technologies. Structural design is discussed with hands-on applications tested. Energy systems are examined and applications introduced that take into account local and global environmental issues.
Students explore the idea that in the form and function of a designed object, what works well does not necessarily look good and enhance life. A well-designed functional and aesthetic object or environment will enrich life, foster communication, hold attention, and/or add emotional depth to an experience. It moves us, delights us, enhances life, and/or gives meaning.
I first became acquainted with the Architecture Resource Center (ARC) fifteen years ago when I was Treasurer of the Connecticut Architecture Foundation (CAF). The ARC initiated hands-on community design programming as the education component of the CAF.
I am pleased that our 2010 pilot work together at Mauro-Sheridan School in New Haven has led to expansion throughout the district. The relevance of the program is demonstrated by a partnership with the New Haven Public Schools Art, Social Studies, and Math Departments.
I look forward, as always, to participating as an advisor and professional development presenter. This initiative is another in a long line of important projects undertaken by ARC to use the field of architecture and the rich resources of our local built heritage as a platform for teaching and learning for a critical audience: the young people of the State.
You have been pioneers in this area and those of us in the design professions and teaching at the collegiate level are very appreciative of your efforts and the opportunities we have had to collaborate with you. Your work is important because it strengthens students’ learning of architecture, an under-represented category of the arts, and also because it helps students make important connections among various disciplines in a real-world context.
ARC provides attractive programs for students at the Yale School of Architecture and we will partner through our Yale Urban Design Network Workshop organization to provide classroom and tour guide support. It is a wonderful opportunity for our students to work alongside your experienced master teaching artists in New Haven classrooms. I valued both the process and product of my involvement with your development of the award-winning curriculum based on the architecture and heritage of New Haven, New Haven’s Cultural Landscape: its changing people and places. I believe that through these efforts we are helping to create a new generation of architecturally and environmentally literate students, future citizens and professional, who will actively value and protect the buildings, landscapes, neighborhoods and towns that we value!
Professor Alan Plattus Director
, Yale Urban Design Workshop Board Member
· Educators have an increased ability to discuss works of art and design and connect them to their students' lives and the NHPS curriculum
· Educators understand design vocabulary, how the application of the design process impacts problem solving ability and helps link elements among the disciplines
· Educators are able to implement new teaching strategies and activities
· Increase in student achievement in math and student attitude and interest in learning.
· Students understand the role of math and science in real world problem solving and their lives and have an improved comprehension of related career opportunities.
We believe that the DCP's innovative approach will make a lasting impact on the fields of design-based and integrated STEM education for the following reasons:
· By using design as a thinking process, students and teachers gain a new method of solving problems
· Students and educators will be able to see how mathematics and science apply to their lives thus increasing both their understanding of concepts and conception of mathematics and science applications in life
· The design activities and PD methodology can be disseminated throughout New Haven and the U.S.
Specific assessment of educator and student learning involved a basic mixed methods approach, including:
· Informal interviews with the project director
· Self-report summative surveys administered to the participating classroom teachers
· A pre/post teacher developed math assessment
· A review of students work
· Interview and self-report surveys requiring individual participant reflection
· Teacher reporting of specific and observable evidence of increases in knowledge and interest in the project concepts and content
· Teachers gained an increased understanding of design projects and design language (8.47)
· Students gained an ability to communicate in 2 or 3 dimensions (8.41)
· Students’ ability to produce quality work (8.59)
The project also administered a district developed pre and post-content assessment to measure mathematics understanding, especially with the geometric skills. Of the ten schools in which fifth grade participants were assessed, every school showed increased scores from the pre- to post-assessment, with an overall average change of 29%.
A summation of the overall impact of this project was provided by one teacher who wrote that, "this was a great project that integrated content across the curriculum while providing opportunities for differentiation and for all students to use their own personal strengths and styles to solve a problem."
Additionally teachers found that the project integrated concepts from multiple disciplines and made math "real" for their students. According to a majority of teachers, "this is a hands-on project that requires students to engage in self-directed problem solving in order to construct their house." From the students' perspective, the majority wanted to know what design problem would they be solving in sixth grade!
ARC was awarded an Interdistrict Cooperative Grant to implement a week-long series of workshops during summers 2013 and 2014 to help girls from RSD#13 and the New Haven Public Schools develop leadership skills and to stimulate their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning.
Instructors observed changes in the girls’ attitude and confidence toward learning as a result of the project’s innovative, engaging, and real-life collaborative design problem solving. The girls were motivated to willingly engage in the learning activities and demonstrated pride and self-confidence at the end of the week during the culminating activity in which projects and the relevant learning skills were shared.
According to the student comments, the most important thing learned during in the DTC were math skills and the understanding that they can be successful learners. Many attributed this result to the engaging activities and the instructors who wanted to help them become better learners and students.
The following quantitative results were collected from the instructor survey on increases in the girl’s content learning and application skills:
•better understand design concepts and content 9.33
•better understand STEM concepts and content 9.33
•increase their interest in learning 9.33
•increase their confidence as learners 9.33
Items-As a result of DTC girls realized positive change in
•Understanding of Design 80%
•Interest in STEM Courses 80%
•respect peers form other racial/ethnic/economic groups 9.17
•engage in learning with other from different racial/ethnic/
economic backgrounds 9.67
Instructors saw this opportunity as a “life changing experience” for many of the girls. As one wrote, the girls were allowed by the neutral and supportive environment of the camp to share and collaborate with others from different racial, ethnic and/or socioeconomic backgrounds. The project design encouraged communication and collaboration, which led to genuine interest in each other. The safe environment established by the project led to the sharing of information among the girls, giving each a respectful understanding of the lifestyles, interests and experiences of those different than themselves.
Written comments indicated that some of the girls initially had difficulty making friends and hoped that this might be remedied by the camp. In every case this happened, with the girl’s discovering that they could make and be friends with all girls, including those from different backgrounds. One girl summarized the feelings of the others with, “This was an awesome camp. I can’t wait to come back.”
Design Connections© is a design curriculum for students in grades 1-12. Master teaching artists engage students in units of study involving projects and activities centered in the students’ community through an examination of local architecture and design. Development of a design vocabulary, application of the design process to problem solving, and the use of two and three-dimensional methods of communication are established as linking elements among the disciplines.
familiar with the concepts and tools of architecture and design, learning how
to communicate their ideas in two and three dimensions through drawings, murals
and model making. Each student brought her/his individual strengths and
insights to the task at hand, thereby experiencing what it feels like to
contribute to the accomplishments of the group. A sense of pride, self-empowerment,
and social responsibility permeated the space. Students learned that they are
capable of growth and that they have the capacity to think on higher levels, positively
affecting their self-esteem and motivation.
Teachers wrote that the
experience helped them understand how to use the context of their
students' lives to make learning more understandable and relevant. They
also noted it provided their students with various problem-solving
techniques and tools and gave them ideas and choices for future learning. It
also provides exposure to new career and learning opportunities increased
their confidence levels for the future.
Nearly every participating teacher indicated (in ratings and written comments) that they learned:
· New content
· New career information
· New teaching strategies
· The importance of using hands-on activities with students to increase interest, access and learning
• "This project made it clear that students of varying abilities can reach high expectations when given the opportunity. Students fully grasped concepts and communicated with in-depth understandings. They have learned to work cooperatively and to accept each other's ideas."
• "Within a short amount of time, students calculated perimeter, area, and cost estimating problems to scale with actual building drawings that they had created. Students remained on task and were engaged in the learning process, proud of what they accomplished. The design workshops reached many students because of its differentiated learning styles."
Comments from student evaluation of the activities included:
• "I learned to make something I thought was impossible."
• "I learned how to measure and why it is important."
• "I learned how to build models. I can use this knowledge for when I have free time at home."
• "I learned how to use my timetables."
• "I learned how to do math much better than I used to know."
• “The math was amazing, I never understood the meaning of perimeter and area until she (the teaching artist) explained it using my project.”
• “I had no idea that we could figure out the cost for a building with our 4th-grade math.”
• “I learned how to measure using my design project. I didn't really know how to do it before.”
All of our in-school programs made possible through community collaborations can be adapted to community and festival events. Past examples of festival events include:
• Executive Director selected to participate on the DESIGN-ED Advisory Board. DESIGN-ED is a national coalition of educators, designers, and business who support design education initiatives in K-12 schools.
• Executive Director served as a Panelist for the Discover Design Competition for high school students from throughout the United States, Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2014, 2013.
I write as a parent who has had the opportunity to participate in your downtown walking tours with my child's elementary classroom. In addition, I participated in her classroom workshops from presentation of the design project through facilitation of the learning process step by step.
Anna Sanko has an MA in Education from Goddard College, a degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute, a CT Interior Design license, and is a CT Office of the Arts Master Teaching Artist. She has practiced professionally for 15 years in architecture and design firms, providing design services for corporate, medical, school, government, retail, and industrial facilities throughout the U.S.
• Design Connections Partnership (DCP) is a collaboration with New Haven Public School (NHPS) Mathematics Department and 10 schools each year. Alan Plattus, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Yale University School of Architecture, provides expertise in the areas of architectural design, history, and urban planning and participates as a presenter at ARC professional development. Karyn Gilvarg, AIA, Executive Director of New Haven City Planning, serves as an advisor and provides school tours of the City Planning facilities for DCP participants.
I have watched and participated as the Architecture Resource Center (ARC) moved from a festival based program in 1991 to an established in-school program for K-8 New Haven Public Schools. In 1997 David Marshall, then Senior Program Manager at the Connecticut Commission on the Arts declared, “No other arts organization in Connecticut offers in-school programming of equivalent scope and quality. Executive director Anna Sanko has done a remarkable job of designing and executing an exemplary program.” The comment holds as true today!
Since 1966, the American Institute if Architects (AIA) has been involved in elementary and secondary education, working on the national level to help clarify issues and develop methods and materials to raise the public consciousness. AIA awarded ARC the 1997 Institute Honors Award given to recognize and encourage distinguished achievements that constitute a beneficial influence of either the environment or architectural profession. The impressive local, regional, and national awards and honors received by the ARC are acknowledgement of the positive impact on the greater community and architectural profession.
ARC has skillfully navigated the fundraising venues of federal agencies receiving major awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts. I have no doubt that their current strategy with the National Science Foundation will be successful!
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Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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