Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy
With the creation of Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy, DeSoto ISD sought to offer its youngest students access to technology-based educational opportunities. The dynamic facility delivers a revolutionary approach to elementary education and is proactively setting children up for success in fast-growing industries.
Seeking to expose young students to science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and outdoor learning, we explored how the design of the building could enhance this mission. Our team developed a hyper-adaptable space with each grade level having access to its own collaboration area and adjacent outdoor lab. Nestled in the heart of the school is a vibrant two-story media center where students can engage in project-based scenarios while enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. Colorful nooks and tutor rooms for quiet study punctuate open collaboration areas. Moments of student engagement can be found throughout the school, from the digital ticker at the front entry, to the graphic learning wall and tech-inspired color palette that also serves as wayfinding throughout the interior.
Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy (KJTMA) provides future-ready learning opportunities based on programs such as robotics, coding, science, digital art and music. To support the curriculum and provide students a strong foundation for tomorrow’s jobs, the design team grouped these STEM-focused programs together at the front of the school. Dynamic QR codes embedded in the wall graphics enable students to access supplementary information through their school-issued iPads.
KJTMA was purposefully designed to encourage moments of student engagement across every square inch.
KJTMA was named in celebration of Katherine Johnson, one of the first African-American mathematicians employed by NASA and the subject of the 2016 film “Hidden Figures”. The interactive wall graphics, designed to offer moments that educate and inspire across multiple disciplines and age groups, features the space-travel theme throughout the building, with each graphic connecting content to nearby programmatic offerings.