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SchoolsNEXT > Competition Details and


Formerly School of the Future Design Competition

SchoolsNEXT Design Competition Brochure – Dates & Milestones

SchoolsNEXT Green Grant

Register for the 2016 SchoolsNEXT Design Competition

The SchoolsNEXT Design Competition offers an opportunity to illustrate the kind of creativity that students bring to the planning and design process. The competition highlights the importance of well-planned, healthy, safe sustainable and resilient schools that foster student and teacher achievement and enhance community vitality. The annual competition, open to middle school students, challenges student teams to design their learning environments to enhance learning, conserve resources, be environmentally responsive and engage the surrounding community. The multi-disciplinary solution requires students to follow a planning process from the concept phase to completion of the project, with thorough documentation. The students will present their project to a jury for review.

Schools around the world are advancing the limits of public education by providing real-world learning experiences and opportunities for students to ask questions and problem solve, collaborate and gain experience tactile, hands-on work. This is a 21st Century learning approach where students are enabled, engaged and empowered through a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum, leadership and teamwork proficiencies to master the 21st century skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy.

Curriculum, Instructions & Guidelines


Award-winning Curriculum

SchoolsNEXT Design Competition Curriculum

Tips for collaborative planning and process for your SchoolsNEXT Project!
Welcome to EducationEvolution, a video project thought of and created by G/T middle students in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Thank you for taking time to watch the video and visit this website! For more information about what the Education Evolution is and what it means, take a look at a quick summary of us here or head to the blog page.

2015 Winners

Four teams of middle school students met at the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) LearningSCAPES Conference in San Diego to compete in the final leg of the 2015 SchoolsNEXT competition.

Over 3,000 students representing nearly 100 school districts from all over the globe participated in the program this year. Following a STEM curriculum, and developing leadership and teamwork proficiencies to master the 21st century skills they need to succeed in today's global economy, the students design and build a model, articulate a vision for their school of the future and produce a five minute video documenting their planning process, rationale and unique design features.

Award of Excellence: Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, Okotoks, Alberta, Canada
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How would you like to explore a modern, innovative and eco-friendly 21st century school that promises to make learning more engaging for students in Canada's North? Traveling all the way from Okotoks, Alberta, the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School team related their experience of working with students in Fort Providence, a First Nations community in the Northwest Territories, in an effort to transform their singular K-12 building educating 170 children into a community icon. Meet Providence Academy ... a school inspired by innovation and the ideals of modern architecture, principle-driven design, strong cultural representation, 21st century technology and advanced environmentally-friendly systems.

With their articulate division of labor and an incredible investigation into a culture far from them, an experience tailored around their meticulous research resulted in Providence Academy, where learning exploded beyond its walls. Demonstrating their passion for encouraging optimal student learning and engaging community involvement and culture in this remote area, the team conducted vigorous research on best practices in education. Providence Academy's wave-like design and igloo motive are representative of the locale and people for whom they hoped to design. Learning that traditional school models do not always benefit students in isolated communities, they envisioned a modern, green school designed to reduce isolation and engage learners of all ages through culturally relevant programming.

Award of Distinction: St. Michael's Academy, Springfield, Massachusetts
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The young men from St. Michael's Academy presented a convincing Vision of how a site responds to the urban context and community, demonstrating a strong connection between community, peripheral learning experiences and athletics. With their Vision, they fulfilled a real community need. The project determined that growth of true community emanated from the pronounced synergy between athletics + academics + citizenship – a provocative reference to the spirit ethic of the ancient Greeks, mind boy. By engaging their passion for sports, the team made it clear that equitable education and learning were of paramount importance to them. Their dedication to true community service was astounding. While designing their learning environment, which had several iterations, and creating an actual budget for their project, the St. Michael's team met with a real estate agent and developer and sought ideas from many community members. Demonstrating great purpose, passion and empathy, the students plan to continue their campaign for a new community center for Springfield. Truly, these young men are making a difference!

Award of Merit: Ligon Middle School, Wake County Public School System, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Envision is a self-sufficient, eco-friendly boarding school located on Falls Lake, NC. With a science-focused curriculum, the NCIII provides a superb local resource, providing hours of service, resources, knowledge and income to the surrounding community. Demonstrating exceptional research of the needs of the community, exploring community growth and environmental impacts, the students designed solutions that provided a healthy and sustainable environment, but most importantly inspired changes in the future of education for the entire community. Through rigorous research of the needs of their community, exploring community growth and environmental impacts, the students focused on designing community solutions with the future in mind. Replete with flexible learning spaces, maker spaces and eco-furnishings, the North Carolina Institute of Innovation displays remarkable teamwork, a desire to empower students and a passion to change the future of learning. They provided solutions not only for their school, but for their entire community.

Award of Commendation: Bullis Charter K-8 School, Santa Clara County Office of Education, Los Altos, California
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With an eye to the connection between learning and community, Dedication Elementary challenges the traditional grade structure, offering a facility for the future with distinct learning environments for auditory, visual, kinesthetic and reading and writing learners. Outdoor learning space were celebrated, both in function and form, given the farm, internal play yard and flowers. The Bullis team's Dedication Elementary had a great focus on diversity and cultural celebration, evident in their radial built environment, reinforcing safety, security, equality and "community." Their "Diversity Day" embodies a community celebration of cultural differences. Cylindrical solar panels and other innovative sustainable features were incorporated and the spirit of fun was not lost on these students.

The SchoolsNEXT program received a donation in the amount of $26,491.86 from the proceeds of the Third Teacher—Cannon Design and VS!


Dedicated architecture students, architects, engineers, construction managers, facility planners, federal agencies, municipal government, manufacturers and suppliers contribute their time in mentoring middle school students through the competition, so that learning about facility planning, design and the built environment can take place.


Teachers are encouraged to use the award-winning SchoolsNEXT Design Competition curriculum and outlined lesson plans as a starting point for the creative ideas of the participants of the student design competition and to develop skills in math, language arts, communication, leadership, science technology, architecture and facility planning.