As soon as War Horse Founder Scott Plank and his family moved to Baltimore, they began the arduous process of searching for the perfect school for their then 5-year-old daughter. Eventually, he stumbled upon a true gem: Guilford Elementary/Middle School. While his daughter ended up at a different school, Scott kept Guilford in the back of his mind—because he knew that there was an opportunity to inspire teachers and engage students and families right in the heart of Baltimore.
We updated the cafeteria, science room, music room, and the gymetorium, bringing in inspiration from the private sector and rearranging the spaces in a way that encouraged innovation and collaboration. Thinking from the viewpoint of the main “customers” – the students, parents, and teachers—we put ourselves in their shoes, walking through the school to experience the “procession” into the building. We realized that this momentous walk into the school wasn’t getting the attention it deserved—so we enhanced it by tearing down walls and adding planter boxes and large trees, new flags, and an inspirational “reach for the stars” sculpture.
By rearranging key learning areas and reimagining the procession into the school, we built more pride into the process, and created an experience that showed tremendous respect for the students, parents, and teachers who walk into the building every day. Now, teachers are more inspired, families are more engaged, and students are more excited to be in an environment that allows them to learn, grow, and work together.