Great Oaks Legacy Charter Schools

Fairmount Heights Middle School

Newark, NJ

Project Details

Supporting pedagogy through design

Great Oaks Legacy Charter School is a high-performing, innovative charter network serving Pre-K to 12th grade students on multiple campuses across the City of Newark. In order to serve more middle school students in the city’s West Ward, Great Oaks Legacy engaged KSS to develop an initial program for a 265-student school and complete a feasibility study on the project site. Our team then partnered with Phelps Construction Group on a design-build project for the 12th Street Middle School.

Great Oaks Legacy prides itself on its unique program which features a co-teacher model to provide a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, daily tutoring in Math and English Language Arts as part of the regular school day, and daily handshakes from the school Principal for all students. The design seeks to celebrate these distinctive program elements through architecture. By defining a backbone for the school, the design creates a central spine that connects through all three levels. Supplementary spaces including a tutoring workroom, staff workroom, and areas for gathering float off the central spine, breaking up the rigid classroom layout. Located on the ground floor, the tutoring room is a crucial program element that offers a flexible, daylit space for small group and one-on-one learning.  A shallow canopy creates an inviting entrance sequence, extending a sense of welcome for students and activating the neighborhood streetscape.

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