Designing the Future: Education for a Master Planned Community in an Innovative and Choice-Filled Landscape
The Sterling Ranch Development Company is developing 3,400 acres of land in Douglas County, Colorado. This open range along the Colorado Rocky Mountains will be home to 40,000 people and 12,000 homes at its full development. Knowing that education plays a central role in anchoring the values and cohesion of a community, the developers have sought an intentional relationship with Peabody College to inform their design for an “educational ecosystem” that will include schools, shared facilities, and community partners. The development is centered on sustainable building practices and community development that can serve as a model for responsible stewardship and technological innovation in other master planned communities. The larger education context surrounding this development encompasses a high-choice, innovative school district in the midst of an affluent, fiscally conservative community. This study is a mixed methods study, utilizing qualitative focus group interviews, a community survey, and field visits to model schools of innovation across the country. This study seeks to address the following questions: 1. How does the high choice landscape of Douglas County influence parents’ preferences, priorities, and activities regarding the education of their children? 2. What is the role of innovation in education and how is it perceived by community members? 3. Given the findings of questions 1 and 2, what models of educational innovation might inform the master plan for the educational ecosystem at Sterling Ranch?