Building Design: Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

Building Design: Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)
• Provide students with spaces necessary to facilitate access to resources, such as counselors, social workers, etc.
• Spaces that facilitate healthy social interactions – natural light, views, etc.
• De-escalation spaces
• Small Learning Communities offer the possibility of breaking larger schools down into smaller environments to foster positive relationships and trust between staff and student, as well as amongst the student body.

Resource Links:
Social and Emotional Learning Solutions

Building Design: Classroom Security

Building Design: Classroom Security

Classroom door hardware

  • Always locked or lockable from inside the classroom
  • Consider barricade devices that are approved by the AHJ
  • Minimize glazing to prevent visibility, physical access to the lockset from the corridor side, gaining physical access to the space via glazed openings.
  • Consider protective glazing films or ballistic glazing at classroom entrances.
  • Provide shades to conceal glazed openings
  • Create shelter-in-place areas within the classroom
  • Strategically located opaque walls that allow students to hide outside the line of sight
  • Consider using ancillary classrooms spaces – toilet rooms, small group instruction rooms, storage rooms – as part of shelter in place strategy

Emergency Egress

  • Consider multiple points of egress to allow for escape within the building or to the exterior.

Resource Links:
Architects prioritize design as a school security solution

Building Design: Strategic Building Separation

Building Design: Strategic Building Separation
• Where possible, separate regularly occupied student spaces from “public” spaces (lobbies, commons areas, activities areas) with cross corridor separations.

  • Classrooms wings or pods
  • Can be tied into the access control system for automatic lockdown
  • Interface cross corridor fire separation w/ building access controls
  • Provide separate entrance(s) for public spaces that need to be occupied separately from the remainder of the building.

Resource Links:
Guide for developing high-quality school emergency operations plans: at a glance

Site Design Best Practices:

Site Design Best Practices:
• Child’s journey begins at home – walking, busing, pick-up/drop-off, mass transit – not necessarily under the control of the designer, but must be considered.
• Appropriate site lighting levels
• Landscaping that does not permit individuals to hide (themselves or other objects)
• Clear lines of sight
• Proper delineation of property (materials, signage, fencing, landscaping, etc.)
• Avoid siting the building in a manner such that allows for dark corners, hiding places, etc.
• Vehicular collision prevention – bollards, berms, etc.

Resource Links:
Strategies to enhance security and reduce vandalism

Policy: Emergency Response Planning- District level, School level, Coordination with local county Emergency Planners

• Develop a common operating view across a school district and individual schools to get a range of their threat level concerns
• Ensure the availability to segment crisis responses
• Recognize the productive relationship of mutual trust between public safety agencies and the School Districts
• Community involvement plays a major role in creating response plans, by providing information about threats and hazards in their schools and neighborhoods


NEA Guide aims to help schools respond, recover from crises