James D. MacConnell Award

The MacConnell Award celebrates comprehensive projects that address a detailed and specific planning process resulting in a facility that supports the educational goals of the district, the needs of a community and is student-centered for active and dynamic learning. It addresses all components of the criteria in an exceptional manner. The James D. MacConnell award is the most prestigious of all the Association's Awards – and is awarded to the most distinctive submission. There is one winning project and several finalists identified. Projects that are submitted for the MacConnell award, but are not named as Finalists, will also be entered in the Project Awards categories, which category is at the jury’s discretion.

  • James D. MacConnell Award Finalists
    Projects submitted to the MacConnell Award program will be reviewed by the MacConnell Jury and a few of these projects will be awarded the title of James D. MacConnell Award Finalist.

  • James D. MacConnell Award Winner
    MacConnell Award Finalist teams will be invited to submit a video and to be interviewed by the MacConnell Jury. All Finalist videos will be played at the LearningSCAPES Conference. One of the Finalists will be named the James D. MacConnell Award winner at the LearningSCAPES Conference.

Core Values of the Association to be recognized and articulated in the dossier:
  • Learners First: achieved by recognizing students as the ultimate beneficiaries of our work; demonstrated when planners, designers, builders, and school systems think first about the needs of students.
  • Diversity: with the intent of fostering equity and inclusion, achieved by deliberately and authentically engaging all voices and perspectives; demonstrated when everybody’s ideas, suggestions, and recommendations are heard and valued.
  • Innovation: achieved through the exploration of opportunities at the intersection of learning and place; demonstrated when the value of place in learning is recognized and our work strengthens learning for all through exceptional environments.
  • Collaboration, Collegiality, Connection: achieved through the sharing of ideas, resources, and values; demonstrated when our members operate seamlessly across market sectors and geographic boundaries.
  • Respect: achieved through recognition and acceptance of ideas, thoughts, and perspectives that differ from your own; demonstrated when a culture exists where new ideas and perspectives are embraced and welcomed.
  • Place Matters: achieved through alignment of learning and place; demonstrated when the value of place in learning is recognized and our work strengthens learning for all through better environments.

Submittal Requirements and Scoring Criteria

Address the requirements below. Submit a PDF file dossier, not to exceed 25 pages. Include as many photographs and/or images as necessary to illustrate and describe the process and overall project. Please avoid solicitation of any particular brand or firm involved in the project. Contents of each section are suggested to provide the jury adequate material to apply the scoring criteria.

All projects must have been completed within the last 5 years.

Online registration and identification of the following must be done prior to sending the application materials.

  • Identify project (project name, location, district, configuration, etc.)
  • Identify key firms / individuals of the process

MacConnell Award Project Dossier

The dossier must include the following sections, clearly identified. Address and articulate Core Values of the Association throughout the dossier.

  1. Executive Summary—describe the overall goals and outcomes of the project
  2. Scope of Work and Budget
  3. School & Community Research and Engagement (25 points)
    1. Context
      • Describe the Community.
      • Identify stakeholders.
      • Describe challenges.
      • Describe available assets.
    2. Process
      • Describe the visioning process for the project.
      • Describe value of process and project to community at large.
      • Describe how the engagement fostered diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    3. Exhibits
      • Include relevant portions of Visioning documents throughout the dossier.
      • Process graphics and relevant diagrams are welcome.
  4. Physical Environment (25 points)
    1. Context
      • Describe & illustrate the physical attributes of the environment, including building(s) and site.
      • Describe & illustrate how the facility fits within the larger context of the community.
    2. Response
      • Describe & illustrate how the project inspires and motivates.
      • Describe innovative aspects of the physical environment.
      • Describe how the physical environment fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion.
      • Describe how the physical environment fosters sustainability and wellness.
    3. Exhibits
      • Include site plan, floor plans and images.
  5. Educational Environment (25 points)
    1. Context
      • Explain the educational vision and goals of the school.
    2. Response
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment supports the curriculum.
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment supports a variety of learning & teaching styles.
      • Describe & illustrate how the environment is adaptable and flexible.
      • Describe innovative aspects of the educational environment.
    3. Exhibits
      • Include relevant portions of Educational Specifications throughout the dossier.
  6. Results (25 points)
    1. Explain how the project achieves educational goals and objectives.
    2. Explain how the project achieves school district goals.
    3. Explain how the project achieves community goals.
    4. Explain any unintended results and achievements of the process & project.
    5. Explain how the project provides value and good stewardship of financial resources.
    6. Summarize the project’s sustainability and wellness outcomes.

Design Exhibit Submittal Requirements

Display for the Design Exhibit at LearningSCAPES is included in the registration fee.

  • Submit two PDF files of a 20x40 display (orientation may be vertical or horizontal); one with a company logo and one without.
  • Name the files the project name with appendix as follows:
    • ProjectName_Display.pdf
      1. Firm information may not be included
      2. School, District, Location may be identified
      3. This file will be used by the jury, in combination with the dossier
    • ProjectName_Display_Logo.pdf
      1. Firm information and logo may be included
      2. School, District, Location should be identified
      3. This file will be used to print the display board for LearningSCAPES exhibit
  • Graphics should illustrate the key components of the project.
  • Boards can include text to tell the story and/or draw focus and attention to a particular component of the project.
  • Include a brief description of the scope of project and budget.
  • Photo Release Form. Please complete, sign, and include the photo release form in the submittal transmission. One release per project.
  • Display boards of MacConnell Finalists will be identified at the LearningSCAPES Design Exhibit.


MacConnell Award
Member 1 Project $850
Member 2 Projects $1,100
Member 3 Projects $1,350
Non-Member 1 Project $1,150
Non-Member 2 Projects $1,400
Non-Member 3 Projects $1,750

All projects submitted will be required to submit a 20x40 project display panel for the LearningSCAPES Conference. Pricing includes the display board.

Submissions should be sent to Kate Lubrano at [email protected]



Key Dates
May 31 Registration Due
June 7 Submittal Materials Due
July 12 Individual Jury Review Complete
July 19 MacConnell Finalists Named
September 2-6 Finalist Interviews
September 20 Finalist Videos Due
October 19 Award Ceremony at LearningSCAPES, MacConnell Winner Named
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LearningSCAPES 2024


October 16-19, 2024
Portland, OR