16 Schools Earn Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grants

The program supports active learning strategies in classrooms where teachers are already striving to implement related practices by installing furniture designed to encourage student engagement and success.

Sixteen educational institutions including traditional 4-year colleges and universities, a technical and community college, middle and high schools, an independent girls’ boarding school and even a self-proclaimed “UnSchool” — where students drive education outcomes — will receive an active learning classroom through the fourth annual Steelcase Education Active Learning Center Grant. This year’s grant recipients represent a variety of institution types and learning models, and all show a commitment to innovation and improving student outcomes.

Active Learning Center
Photo: Steelcase Education

The grant program supports active learning strategies in classrooms where teachers are already striving to implement related practices by installing a learning space with furniture designed to encourage student engagement and success. Recipient institutions plan to use the active learning classroom for diverse purposes, from converting a library space to educating students in topics ranging from nursing education, engineering and STEM courses, writing and language arts, special education, and training future educators to implement active learning in their own classrooms.

“Our grant recipients come from school districts and regions across North America, demonstrating that active learning and personalized teaching methods are top of mind for all educators today,” said Craig Wilson, Director of Market Development, Steelcase Education. “We chose to partner with each of these institutions because of their commitment to evolving pedagogy, innovative learning, and student success.”

Grant recipients are located throughout North America, including both the United States and Mexico. The grant is valued at approximately $67,000 per classroom and covers the furniture, design, installation, and on-site training needed to effectively use the new spaces. Classrooms will be installed beginning in summer 2018.

An additional benefit for the recipients is the opportunity to participate in an annual symposium with all awarded schools to share insights and best practices. Over the two-year program, Steelcase Education and the schools will partner together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed spaces.

“We are excited to learn from these innovative and enthusiastic teachers and faculty members,” said Marisa Sergnese, training and professional development leader at Steelcase Education. “As we share with instructors best practices for incorporating the active learning environment into their curriculum, their insights will also inform our research, future products and strategic development to better the educational experience.”

Earlier grant recipients have been conducting qualitative and quantitative research on these impacts, measuring specific student outcomes and teacher effectiveness. Research from Cycle 1 of the program has shown the active learning classroom’s impact on student and instructor metrics, including:

  • Enhanced collaboration and team-based learning;
  • Drove student engagement and participation; and
  • Supported instructor-led changes in pedagogy.

2018 awardees include:

  • Angevine Middle School (Boulder Valley School District), Lafayette, CO
  • Arapahoe Ridge Alternative High School, Boulder, CO
  • Bernards High School (Somerset Hills School District), Bernardsville, NJ
  • Defiance College, Defiance, OH
  • Jackson Hole Middle School (Teton County School District #1), Jackson, WY
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
  • Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Polk State College, Winter Haven, FL
  • Radford University, Radford, VA
  • River Oaks Baptist School, Houston, TX
  • San Juan Unified School District, the UnSchool, Carmichael, CA
  • Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College, Cumberland, KY
  • The Ethel Walker School, Simsbury, CT
  • Universidad Regiomontana, Monterrey, Nuevo León, MX
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Storrs, CT
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Through this grant program, Steelcase Education has invested approximately $1 million to improve classrooms across North America. These schools and universities were chosen out of over 1,000 applications for their unique approaches to active learning. For more information on the winners, visit the Steelcase Education website.