DeLaSalle’s Center for Innovative Learning, full of state-of-the-art technology and educational resources, enables students and teachers to work individually, in small groups, or as an entire class to advance their education. This space in the newly redesigned center of the school represents the innovative learning that occurs at DeLaSalle.
This project – the largest improvement of its kind in modern school history – puts DeLaSalle among the first high schools in Minnesota to add such a facility, just as we were among the first to implement a 1:1 tablet technology program six years ago.
Just as business environments and personal communications have evolved dramatically over the past 15 years, the days of students sitting in one place and listening to a lecture are giving way to interactive learning with students far more engaged in discovery. The design of the new CIL responds to this new pedagogy. Adaptability and collaboration drive the design, as learning spaces accommodate both group projects and individual inquiry. Almost all the furniture will be movable so that classes can quickly adjust their settings based on the day’s lesson.
What the Center for Innovative Learning Offers
The Thies Technoloogy Lab, paid for in part through a generous $2.5 million legacy gift from David ’55 and Marlys Thies, features a state-of-the-art computer area outfitted with the Adobe Suite. It is a perfect place for students to create, design and manipulate digital material. Here, our Introduction to Visual Arts, Digital Photography, and Graphic Design classes can explore and create. Additionally, our Principles of Engineering and Python students will have access to ever-expanding digital content. While every student will have a computer and monitor, the wall monitors allow the students to display their work and begin the process of collaborative learning — from peer to peer as well as from teacher to student. Think of preparation for what occurs in a modern conference room or meeting space. Teachers control each monitor, regulating access to additional or connected content in a collaborative setting.
The Creative Thinking side of the Thies Technology Lab works in tandem with the other side as well as with the library and media center across the hallway. This space, with its varied and comfortable seating, gives students a place to work solo, in pairs, groups, or as a class. The whiteboards give students an opportunity to brainstorm, visualize and demonstrate ideas, and think creatively about class activities and projects. Some technology is available, but this room was mainly constructed to encourage thinking, conversation and collaboration.
Central to our Center for Innovative Learning is our Active Learning Space. This multi-purpose space can be transformed into classroom space for up to 60 students (pefect for collaborative, inter-departmental projects or instruction), a large group gathering space, a commons area for students, and/or space for students and teachers to meet individually or in small groups. Desks can be easily rearranged for individuals, pairs, or groups as needed. The wall monitors, controlled by the teacher station, allow the teacher to show images to small or differentiated groups or to the entire class. Students will be able to project their work from their iPad to a group monitor, allowing for collaborative study and problem solving.
The Co-Curricular Room is a versatile area that can be used as an academic space as well as a space for co-curricular activities such as speech, student council, cheer or theater. The flexible furniture allows for a change of space and environment at a moment’s notice.
Our new Learning Support Center is a space designed for students who may need support and accommodations in their learning. A testing room allows for extended time on tests under the supervision of our Learning Specialist and/or Learning Support staff. Tutoring areas are available as well as resources such as audio books and graphic organizers.
While the Library still contains books and hands-on research materials, it also acts as a digital research center where students can access a number of databases, and work on homework and projects. A full class can gather to access teacher-designed virtual learning. The new learning pods with group seating and whiteboard space, offers students an opportunity to collaborate on projects with research material within arms reach.
Soon to come are the video dubbing and editing rooms. These spaces will allow students to design, create and edit video and audio for any class project
Among the improvements of the new building project are enhanced athletic storage and locker space, as well as new areas for theatre staging and storage. The school converted what had been the girls’ physical education and athletic locker room in the Main Gym into boys’ and girls’ physical education locker rooms, also to be used by visiting teams at DeLaSalle athletic contests. The school then created space within the new building for enhanced boys’ and girls’ athletic locker rooms, replacing what had been 55-year old locker rooms in other parts of the facility. With well over half of the student body participating in athletics and/or theatre programs each year, students, coaches and moderators should benefit from improved areas and access.
This project also has presented an opportunity to improve campus infrastructure and link all three buildings on campus more effectively. We’ve known for many years that we needed to replace our heating and electrical systems for much of the current campus, and that work has been completed – and was significantly more cost effective than had it been done separately. We replaced an 80-year old boiler/heating system and upgraded electrical service across the campus. With new corridors, a new “north entrance,” and other facility additions, we address safety and student traffic concerns with a more logical flow of parking and hallway traffic. Students move from class to class more efficiently, and visitors to events on campus have more logical points of entry. Moving storage and locker rooms to a new place on the north end of the campus better connects those spaces to the new athletic field and existing gymnasiums.
CIL Reflects Major Investment of “Gateway to the Future” Campaign
The Center for Innovative Learning represents a major investment of DeLaSalle’s “Gateway to the Future” capital campaign. Launched in 2014, the campaign calls for the school to raise $17,000,000 over five years, with $8.8 million earmarked for the CIL, the building addition, and the related infrastructure improvements, and $8.2 million to be raised for student scholarship and grants, as well as endowment programs. The response to the campaign has been terrific! After just two years, DeLaSalle has already raised $12,300,000 in gifts and pledges — with several significant gifts anticipated in the coming months. As with all major building projects of the past 25 years — the Florance Center and first floor restoration, the Albers Atrium addition, the LL Gray gymnasium addition and A building HVAC renovation, the new DeLaSalle athletic field, and the renovated science labs among them — the construction of the CIL is funded directly from campaign gifts from benefactors who support DeLaSalle and its families, raised through the hard work of DeLaSalle’s president and development staff, as well as several key volunteers who passionately support the school and invite others to do the same.
At the same time, the school has retained its unwavering commitment to provide unmatched financial aid and grant support for the students and families of DeLaSalle. The school will invest $3,000,000 in students from ALL backgrounds this year alone, so that a DeLaSalle student body continues to reflect the full breadth and richness of an increasingly-diverse Twin Cities. Our students and families come from every neighborhood, every family background, and every socio-economic demographic, Contrary to what some would speculate, the school receives NO subsidy from any outside group (and never has) and operates independently under its own corporate structure. Revenues are raised entirely from tuition and gifts to the school, and we are careful stewards of what our mission calls us to be. We are immensely grateful for the sacrifices and investments made by our parents and donors in community with our staff, Board, and students. To achieve this lofty mission presents a financial challenge each fiscal year, yet the school has balanced its annual operating budget for 19 of the past 20 years. We remain faithful to our historic mission to provide high-quality, Catholic, Lasallian education to ALL students, preparing them for further education, lives of goodness and service to others, and an appreciation for the God-given value of each person, from every background.
We have completed our 117th year on Nicollet Island and our future has never been brighter! Enrollment is the highest it’s been in more than four decades. Thanks in large part to the generosity of benefactors and friends we welcome students from over 125 Twin Cities middle schools and all socio-economic backgrounds. DeLaSalle’s continues to enhance academic and co-curricular programming and environments for students. The Class of 2016 continues a remarkable track record, as over 98 percent of our graduates will matriculate to college this fall. All students will gather in prayer at least 1500 times each year and, collectively, will offer over 20,000 hours of Christian Service to their communities this year. We remain committed to our unique strengths as an urban, Catholic, Lasallian high school – rooted in a legacy of Faith, rigor, community, and relevance that has sustained DeLaSalle for more than a century. There is no school like DeLaSalle!
- Strategic Planning Identifies Need for CIL
In Spring 2013, DeLaSalle, working with HGA and McGough, began putting together a masterplan for the campus. The year-long process identified opportunities within the current facility for a new academic “hub” at the heart of the campus, accommodating enhanced learning opportunities with improved access to technology, and providing a much needed, flexible commons space. The masterplan also identified opportunities on-site for co-curricular requirements, campus mechanical and electrical infrastructure needs, and enhancements to building traffic flow and the safety and appearance of the North entrance and service court.
- Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Awards $1 Million Challenge Grant
We are excited to report that, not only have we have received a commitment from the Richard M. Schulze Family foundation for a matching grant of up to $1,000,000, but we already have met the challenge and matched the value of the grant with gifts and pledges from other donors. All proceeds from this grant and the challenge match will go toward the construction of the Center for Innovative Learning. We enthusiastically acknowledge the generosity of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, partners with DeLaSalle as we best prepare our students to contribute to college and careers in coming years. Our current appreciation is only surpassed by our vision of what we will be able to do in the future with the support of the Schulze Foundation.
- DeLaSalle Secures $1 Million Grant from David and Barbara Koch Foundation
Longtime supporters, David and Barbara Koch, have continued their support for DeLaSalle with a grant from their Foundation to be used for either new facilities or increase financial assistance programs. Longtime supporters of the Brother Michael Collins Legacy Scholarship Fund (formerly called Lasallian Mentors). Mr. and Mrs. Koch made the lead gift gift toward the construction of the LL Gray Gymnasium addition and related campus improvements in 2001.
- Board of Trustees Approves Center for Innovative Learning
The DeLaSalle Board of Trustees formally approves the building project to construct the Center for Innovative Learning at the heart of the school campus.
- DeLaSalle Engages Neighbors, Receives NIEBNA Support
In an effort to better engage neighbors about the project, DeLaSalle met with the Nicollet Island-East Bank Neighborhood Association (NIEBNA) several times in the months leading up to construction. In July 2014, the NIEBNA Board of Directors passed a motion supporting the project.
- Dave '55 and Marlys Thies Pledge $2.5 Million Legacy Gift
With tremendous gratitude, we are thrilled to receive a commitment from David '55 and Marlys Thies for a legacy gift of $2,500,000 toward the "Gateway to the Future" campaign. It's fair to say that we would not be talking of DeLaSalle's future had Dave Thies '55 not started rolling up his sleeves and helped pull the school out of the mire of a not-too-distant past. Dave "returned" to DeLaSalle in 1990, when enrollment and fundraising were each at 25-year lows, the operating deficit was building, and potential closure was imminent. He co-chaired the successful "Continuing the Tradition" campaign from 1990-93, one of the first major steps toward the resurgence of DeLaSalle. In the quarter-century since, not only has Dave been a significant volunteer fundraiser at De, working with administrators and trustees to raise millions toward school academic and financial assistance programs, but he and Marlys have become the top benefactors in school history.
- School Publicly Launches "Gateway to the Future" Capital Campaign
With pride and anticipation of an even brighter future, DeLaSalle publicly launched its bold new "Gateway to the Future" capital campaign at its largest annual student scholarship fundraiser. There are two goals for the campaign - one grounded in our legacy and one pointed toward our mission to educate all students from all neighborhoods. Most immediately, to meet emerging educational needs and better manage a growing high school, we will construct a new Center for Innovative Learning at the heart of our campus. It is worth noting that in the first six months of the campaign, and from only the first 13 major gifts solicited, we have already raised $6,500,000 toward the campaign goals. This includes three significant lead gifts: $2.5 million from David '55 and Marlys Thies, and $1 million apiece from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the David and Barbara Koch Foundation. These three lead gifts have offered us both a foundational platform upon which to dream big and momentum to move forward with confidence.
- DeLaSalle Breaks Ground on the CIL
DeLaSalle High School officially broke ground May 19 on its latest multi-million dollar facility improvement. Several benefactors and friends of the school were joined by students and staff in front of the school to symbolically begin the latest enhancements to the DeLaSalle campus, first planned more than two years ago and first announced to families, alumni and friends in October 2014. President Barry Lieske led the entire community in prayer and reminded the audience that all facility enhancements are done with best interests of students and their learning at the forefront.
The facility upgrade was first planned more than two years ago and was first announced at the annual Christian Brothers Gala in October 2014. The project is the fourth multi-million dollar facility enhancement since 1999 alone. All four have been paid exclusively from capital gifts raised by DeLaSalle’s development team and administrators, under the approval of the DeLaSalle Board of Trustees.
- Construction Complete
DeLaSalle formally took ownership of the new building space following a final inspection on August 11. The school immediately put the space to use, hosting class reunions during Alumni Weekend, employee orientation in the week before school started, and the first classes in the CIL.
- Center for Innovative Learning Blessing
Archbishop Bernard Hebda formally blessed the Center for Innovative Learning in a ceremony following the opening school year Mass of the Holy Spirit on August 31, 2016. The archbishop offered the blessing outside the new "D" building, surrounded by students, staff, parents, and guests. Click here to read more.