In many ways, a school built today contains many similarities with a school built 100 years ago. The idealized school is on a grassy campus, almost park-like, somewhat set back from the road in a somewhat walkable suburb. It’s distinguishing feature is probably its football stadium! But downtown San Diego offers a glimpse of the future. As I wrote in today’s ThinkED blog post, e3 Civic High School opens next week on the sixth and seventh floors in the newly constructed San Diego Public Library. It’s a great example of a city and school district, along with a public charter school operator, working together to pool resources and develop an attractive school choice for families, especially those growing numbers of families moving back downtown. But it’s also a great example of re-conceptualizing what a school ought to look like in the 21st Century. As I wrote, “Schools…are more than just rows of desks in classrooms; they are places that bring the community together and inspire students to learn.” Even in this age of telecommuting, people in their 20s and 30s want to live and work in urban environments. Likewise, I wonder if, despite all the talk of virtual schools, more and more communities are going to realize that schools, too, belong firmly in the heart of our “public squares”.