Since 2005 the Crow Island Stewardship Group has been devoted to conversations, discussions and activities of stewardship that have defined and affirmed our role in the life of the school.
The Stewardship Group commissioned and funded a Historic Structure Report (HSR). This is an extensive document that is intended to serve as a readily accessible reference tool to guide future maintenance, restoration and construction decisions.
The Stewardship Group has maintained long-term relationships with architecture and design firms and companies that provide equipment and services to schools. Most recently, the Stewardship Group was instrumental in facilitating a generous donation of school furniture from VS America, Inc. to outfit every Crow Island classroom with state-of-the-art furniture that can be readily adjusted to accommodate a variety of learning situations.
The Stewardship Group is now a nonprofit organization and will be seeking funds and grants to assist with restoring the architectural features of Crow Island that are not within the purview of school district funds.
Over the years, Stewardship Group initiatives have included
- Providing International, National and Community Education – The Stewardship Group provides docent-led tours to parent groups, visiting CI alumni, architects and educators. We have co-sponsored tours with the Winnetka Historical Society. Recent tours included students from Lake Forest College, architecture students from Illinois Institute of Technology, students of architecture and design from Northwestern University’s Segal Design Institute; a visiting researcher from Japan; visiting architects working on future school projects that emulate Crow Island’s design; visiting architects and researchers from Helsinki, Britain, Japan, a private K-12 school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Professors of architecture from Barcelona, and the Curator of the Department of Art & Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
Stewardship Group members presented a session at the Midwest Regional Conference of the Council for Education Facilities Planning International (CEFPI) – May, 2011 @ the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Since 2005, the inaugural year of the Stewardship Group, Crow Island School has been the focus of sessions and presentations at national and international conferences each year. Professional organizations sponsoring these conferences include The Council of Education Facilities Planners International (CEFPI); The National Association of Education of Young Children (NAEYC); The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); Opening Minds Conference of the Chicago Area Education of Young Children (CAEYC); and The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES).
- Providing consultation (via researching the archives) to District 36 Administration
District 36 Maintenance Dep’t and architects on renovation projects – some projects already completed; others still in the planning stages
- Classroom countertop replacement;
- Classroom water fountain retrofitting;
- Classroom way-finding signage;
- Parking spaces;
- Auditorium sound system;
- Replacement of the Council Ring;
- Foyer window covering and re-upholstery of furniture;
- Refurbishing wood veneer wall in auditorium;
- Re-painting classroom doors;
- Replacing floor tile throughout the building
- Restoration of the Crow sculpture
- Restoration of the clock on the chimney tower
- Plan to add mobile classrooms and additional bathroom
- Providing archival material and consultation to V/S Furniture Co. and their Design Team to support the current gift of classroom furniture to Crow Island.
- Historic Structure Report / Preservation Plan – In June, 2015 the Stewardship Group commissioned a Historic Structures Report (in progress) to assist decision-makers in the process and implementation of facilities additions and renovations to Crow Island School in keeping with its National Landmark status.
- Archives: Adding documentation to our archives; prepared research for inclusion on WPS website; begun the conversation about long-term storage of archives.
- Alumni Search: In 2015, Lauren Rein (CI alum) established an outstanding forum for locating alumni @ www.crowisland75th.wordpress.com and has communicated with hundreds of former Crow Island students and families.
- Historic Furniture Inventory: Organized and implemented an extensive inventory of the Saarinen-design furniture that is no longer used in the classroom. This furniture is on permanent loan to the VS School Furniture Museum. (August, 2018)
In addition to our group’s efforts, there is an ever-growing international community of architects, designers, museum curators and researchers who continue to be deeply interested in Crow Island School’s lasting impact on school design. Examples of these initiatives include
- American School & University’s Crow Island School Citation (1991-Present):
American School & University (AS&U) publishes an annual “Educational Interiors Showcase” edition of their trade magazine to serve as a guide for outstanding interior design in the educational environment. In 1991 the American School and University Journal established the “Crow Island School Citation” on recommendation of the AIA and educational administrators. ‘The award is presented each year to a school whose facilities exemplify “the marriage of the interior environment to the educational program,” as Crow Island School does’. The Crow Island School Citation is the competition’s highest interior award:
“…Because of the visionary goal, influence and importance Crow Island has had on effective school building design for the past 50 years – and for the significance it is bound to have in the foreseeable future – AS&U honors this timeless facility.” American School & University – July, 1991 (p. 19)
Since 1991, twenty-seven schools across the country and their design firms have been awarded the Crow Island School Citation because their interior design demonstrates sustainability, openness, and a creative spirit that is reminiscent of Crow Island School.
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) “Century of the Child” Exhibition – July 2012. The Stewardship Group assisted the Winnetka Historical Society in researching furniture that was included in this exhibition in New York.
- Symposium at Crow Island – September, 2016. The Stewardship Group, Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond and the Winnetka Historical Society co-sponsored a Symposium featuring Susan Saarinen (daughter of architect Eero Saarinen) at Crow Island. The event was attended by design professionals and community.
- Research: The Stewardship Group has provided docent tours, consultation and support for research in school design that includes Crow Island as a central focus and prominent example of outstanding school design. Examples include
- Barry Bergdoll – Curator, Department of Art & Architecture – Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York
- Thomas Hille – Architect & author of Modern Schools: A Century of Design for Education (2011)
- Professor Catherine Burke – Senior Lecturer in the History of Education-Faculty of Education – University of Cambridge – currently involved in research on the design of schools
- Allesandro deGregori – Senior Research Consultant- NJIT Center for Building Knowledge – author of Reimagining the Classroom: Opportunities to Link Recent Advances in Pedagogy to Physical Settings
- Professor Kenichiro Miyamoto – Professor of Education at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan. Author of “The Evolution of School Buildings in America: From Teacher –centered Schoolhouse to Child-centered Learning Environments”
- Madhab Sitaula – Principal of the Lalitpur Secondary Boarding School in Kathmandu, Nepal visited Crow Island as his school seeks to implement a progressive philosophy.
- Alexandra Lange – Architecture and design critic and author of “The Design of Childhood – How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids” (June, 2018)
- Dale Gyure (Professor of Architecture @ Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI) authored The Schoolroom – A Social History of Teaching and Learning(July, 2018).