Intellectual Virtues Academy of Long Beach, a new tuition-free public middle school, chartered by the Long Beach Unified School District, is working with designer Erin Ferry to reimagine the learning environment for their sixth grade students. The school will open to students on September 4, 2013 with two classes of 25 sixth-graders at 3601 Linden Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90807.
In collaboration with the school faculty and Akins Parker Creative, designer Erin Ferry created designs that will underscore the mission of Intellectual Virtues Academy through a learning environment that fosters meaningful growth in the “intellectual virtues,” the deep personal qualities of an excellent thinker and life-long learner. Ferry is a freelance interior designer who hails from global design and architecture firm Gensler.
"We are so fortunate, to have a talent like Erin visualize how the intellectual virtues would apply to our classroom space." said principal Jacquie Bryant. "Our renovation has begun and we are so excited to welcome our students this September into a space that will facilitate deep thinking and learning.”
The classroom designs feature a clean, contemporary look with graphic accents and provide a punctuation of color in what is commonly a dull and unimaginative setting for students. One wall in each classroom will be covered with dry erase paint to encourage student/teacher collaboration and provide a canvas for thoughts to be visualized.
“The built environment plays such a pivotal role in how we think, work, and learn. Within the classroom setting, we have an even greater responsibility and opportunity to create a setting that fosters collaboration, inspires creative thinking, tells a narrative, and provides flexibility. IVA's mission of growing students who embody intellectual virtues will be physically represented in these classroom settings. I have enjoyed being a part of bringing that vision to life,” said designer Erin Ferry.
The spacious, light-filled classrooms, feature a backdrop of IVA’s nine master virtues applied in vinyl graphics onto maple wood cabinets. The students have been invited to create an installation of unique and colorful paper planes across the bank of windows in the math and science room. The renovation to the current classrooms and administration office is underway and will include new flooring and ceiling treatments, unique applications of dry erase paint and creative spaces for displaying student work.
“It’s a teacher’s dream," stated English teacher Ian McCurry “not only do we get to inspire our students through the intellectual virtues, we get to create a classroom that facilitates their learning as well.”