Graduate project

Realistic Contributions for Improving the Physical School Environment

ABSTRACT REALISTIC CONTRIBUTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE PHYSICAL SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT by © Lauren Elizabeth Albert 2010 Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction Option California State University, Chico Summer 2010 As funding for schools continues to decline, only certain projects can be completed. Certainly these projects should be ones that offer the greatest return in increasing student achievement. Indeed even in difficult financial times, it is possible to complete substantial improvement projects for minimal to no cost. However, there are no comprehensive handbooks that explain how to implement such projects. Despite this fact, improving the physical school environment is beneficial to students, educators, and the entire community. The purpose of this project is to identify improvements to schools’ culture, through various projects enhancing the physical aesthetics of the school. The premise of the project is based on findings from a survey, which was directed at the aspects of the schools’ physical environment that caused increases in students’ learning. This project provides a handbook of realistic resources for improving a school’s physical environment. The handbook outlines four project ideas to be completed by the school community for minimal costs. The four project ideas are 1) School Murals, 2) School Garden, 3) Paint with School Colors Benches, Doors, etc., and 4) Plant Trees with Identification Tags. The projects are organized with step-by-step instructions for ease of completion. Additionally, the handbook provides resource ideas for funding. Creating an enriching physical school environment has been shown to improve students’ attitudes toward learning, thus positively influencing test scores. This handbook is intended to improve the grounds and facilities of a school with the end result being a more motivated school community.