Futurist Helps Houston ISD Imagine Next Generation Of Schools

Dr. Peter C. Bishop is an Associate Professor of Strategic Foresight and Director of the graduate program in Futures Studies at the University of Houston. [University of Houston photo]
The Houston Independent School District has started to negotiate contracts with design firms for its $2 billion bond program. The money will replace 40 schools. At the same time the district is trying to figure out how to build a school of the future.

The new schools from the HISD bond program are supposed to last decades and serve the next generation of students.

For help on that, the district has turned to someone who’s called a futurist.

Peter Bishop teaches futures studies and strategic planning at the University of Houston.

“In this case, what we’re trying to do is imagine what it’s like going to school 20 or 30 years from now, and so, that the school is prepared to receive that kind of education. We call it a 21st century learning environment.”

Bishop is a member of the new advisory committee for the bond.

He says they will take trends from today and extrapolate them into the future. That way they can predict that Texas is going to have more students and those students will be more diverse.

Bishop says the trick is you can’t prepare for everything, but you can imagine different scenarios.

“So, what if this? Or what if that? And we’re not saying they will, but we need to think of a wide-range of possibilities so that we’re not surprised and we’re prepared for certainly not everything — because we can’t prepare for everything — but you can anticipate a lot of unusual things happening.”

HISD will also get input from architects and experts in green buildings on the new bond advisory committee.

 

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...