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2019-20 Application Information

Give elementary school students awareness, involvement and a greater understanding of their environment through the Architecture Foundation of Oregon Architects in Schools program!

Architects in Schools (AiS) matches design and building professionals including architects, engineers, contractors, interior designers, landscape architects, city planners, architecture historians, architecture students and more with 3rd, 4th & 5th grade teachers for a 6-week classroom residency (approximately 1-2 hours a week per class), offered free of charge to schools. Students participating in AiS learn important skills through lessons that include cooperation and planning, connect to the Oregon Academic Content Standards, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and help to gain a better sense of how school relates to the real world.

AiS has been inspiring children to examine their built environment for four decades. Design/building professionals as well as architecture students volunteer their time because sharing their passion for architecture with students energizes them. Teachers tell us that AiS has a tremendous impact on their students. We invite you to join us for an exhilarating foray into the built environment with students.

Program Timeline


Learn more about Architects in Schools

AFO will:

  • Match design/building professionals with teachers who will team up to present a 6-week classroom residency between January and April. Architecture students sometimes assist with residencies.
  • Provide free training and a 360+ page curriculum guide that can link activities and lessons to the Oregon Academic Content Standards, Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards in many classroom subjects including math, science, social studies and language arts.
  • Help you link your residency to existing classroom curricula.
  • Offer course credit to eligible architecture students.
  • Provide ongoing support from AFO’s staff.
  • Present local receptions and exhibits of students’ work completed in the AiS program.

School participation will be determined based on the criteria below and equitable distribution of program resources. Final decisions regarding participation are made by the AiS staff.

  • Priority is given to schools with no more than 2 classes participating in the same grade level per school per academic year. A class may not exceed 35 students. Preference will be given to classes in grades 3, 4 & 5. Scheduling is completed by design/building professionals and teachers based on what works best for that team.
  • Participating teachers must be clearly identified in the application and be willing to work with the design/building professional and AFO as a team.
  • Teachers and design/building professionals must attend an orientation session presented in or close to their geographic area. If not able to attend an orientation, participants must contact AFO staff prior to beginning the program.
  • Design/building professionals and architecture students will be expected to spend approximately 12 hours in the classroom and 8 hours of planning and prep time total.
  • Collaborate with the classroom teacher(s) to develop and teach a program that uses architecture and design to enhance the classroom curriculum (the AiS curriculum is not the only base to use for your classroom goals — work with the teachers to decide what is best). Before you begin your residency, each team will be asked to hand in a residency plan.
  • Be on time. Teachers keep very strict schedules, so a loss of 5 minutes can mean the difference between a successful classroom visit and frustration.
  • Please make every effort to keep to your scheduled visits. It is often quite difficult for schools to rearrange schedules once they have been set.
  • Your time is short with the students. Prep all materials agreed on with the teacher. Ask the teacher to make copies, pass out materials beforehand and have assignments for students who finish early.
  • Leave students in a frame of mind to return to classroom work. Teachers appreciate guests who do not leave them with restless or unruly students.
  • Try to call students by name. Ask the teacher to have them wear name tags for your visit.
  • Move about the classroom: don’t stay in one spot the entire lesson. Share your enthusiasm about design and make it personal.
  • Communicate all problems, questions and concerns with AFO staff immediately and read all email communication sent about AiS carefully.
  • Partner and collaborate with the design/building professional(s) to develop and teach a program that enhances your classroom curriculum. Before you begin your residency, each team will be asked to hand in a residency plan.
  • Check your team’s proposed residency schedule for any conflicts with other school events (half days, assemblies, etc.) and notify the design/building professional(s) of any conflicts well in advance.
  • You are responsible for facilitating and assisting with planned activities during the residency sessions and for conducting follow-up and preparatory activities related to the project between the scheduled visits.
  • The design/building professional(s) will also rely on you to be in charge of classroom discipline and to help with classroom management issues such as grouping students for cooperative work and maintaining a good classroom atmosphere. You must be in the classroom with the design/building professional at all times. The teacher listed on the application must be the teacher present for residency sessions (no substitutes) unless prior approval has been given by AFO staff and the design/building professional.
  • Please introduce your resident design/building professional(s) to your supervisor and/or principal and alert the front desk and main office on the days of their visits.
  • Have students wear name tags during the design/building professional’s visits.
  • Communicate all problems, questions and concerns with AFO staff immediately and read all email communication sent about AiS carefully.


Kim Ruthardt Knowles
Associate Director, Architects in Schools

Candice Agahan
Education Programming Associate

Program Orientations

Participants, please plan to attend an orientation in your area. If you are unable to attend an orientation you must notify AFO staff.

Southern Oregon
Tuesday, October 22, 2019, 4:30-7pm
Medford Branch County Library

Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:30am-2pm
Portland State University, Shattuck Annex

Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 4:30-7pm
Rowell Brokaw Architects

Central Oregon
Saturday, November 16, 2019, 1-4pm
Bend-LaPine School Administration Building

Saturday, January 11, 2020, 12:30-4pm
Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House