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BRIC-Based Education Collaboration to Study Innovative Classroom Furnishings at Local School

Midway ISD elementary school to host semester-long pilot program to assess concept that increases flexibility in classroom learning spaces

WACO, Texas (Jan. 24, 2017) – Spring Valley Elementary School in Hewitt, Texas, will soon introduce students to a unique, newly developed learning space arrangement that researchers hope will enhance learning by facilitating quick reconfiguration of seating and work surfaces.

The pilot program – known as the Student Engagement Research Project – follows an initial two-year planning, experimentation and evaluation phase during which researchers selected and verified the methods needed to perform a study of this kind. That phase was conducted at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC) by Education Service Center Region 12 and Huckabee, the Fort Worth-based architecture and design firm that developed the furnishings, using input from area teachers who participated in the project. The Baylor School of Education and the education research group of the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER) compiled and evaluated data resulting from the initial phase.

“This pilot program represents the ‘first fruits’ of the BRIC’s education research outreach,” said Truell W. Hyde, Ph.D., vice provost for research at Baylor and CASPER director. “When we envisioned the BRIC over a decade ago, research in education, especially in the scientific and technical fields, was a primary driver. Those of us at the BRIC and in the Baylor School of Education are grateful and excited to join ESC Region 12, Huckabee and Midway ISD in working to see how this innovative concept might improve student performance.”

Huckabee Chief Executive Officer Chris Huckabee gives Midway’s faculty and administration the lion’s share of the credit for the ideas behind the project.

“The concept for the pilot study was driven by Midway ISD’s educators,” Huckabee said. “They’re doing great things in the district and at the elementary level, and wanted to validate the work they started around student engagement and flexibility. Huckabee’s existing research partnership with Baylor University and ESC Region 12, combined with our 16-year relationship with Midway ISD, gave us the opportunity to help MISD dive into the data. The results will impact learning at all levels, in Midway and for educators across the state.”

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