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Save the Date: Apply for Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant

By  October 24, 2016

Save the date to apply for the Steelcase Active Learning Center grant.It’s that’s time of year again! Registration for the Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant will open on December 1, with registration closing in mid-February. Interested in learning more about the grant? Read on!

The Steelcase Active Learning Center grant provides a meaningful transformation to classrooms in need of an update and for schools and teachers ready to use their physical classroom to advance learning in new and important ways. For Forest Hills Northern High School teacher Elbert Yeh, the Steelcase Active Learning Center grant gave him a new way to engage and energize his students. Yeh’s FHN classroom was one of 25 learning environments across the country to receive the first-year Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant in 2015.

“When I first brought my class in here, they said ‘Mr. Yeh, we want to be in here every day. We love this place,’” said Yeh following the installation of his new classroom. “These tables, these chairs, they breed discussion from our students. The tables are set up so our students face each other. Once they face each other, they want to talk to each other. Now when I plan my lesson, it’s not just ‘What do I want to cover?,’  but I have the opportunity to use the surroundings and the environment to help cover my material as well.”

Recipients of the grant work with their local Steelcase dealers to make the concept a reality. For Yeh and the FHN administrators, that local dealer was Custer.

“Custer was so thrilled to hear that Forest Hills Northern High School was one of the recipients of this grant last year,” said Lana Voelker, Education Sales Leader at Custer. “We have enjoyed being a part of the renovation of this space and hope that we will be honored again this year to have a local recipient…The Steelcase grant is a wonderful opportunity for passionate teachers, principals and administrators to make their active learning environment goals and dreams a reality.”

Through the grant, Yeh was awarded a new classroom featuring mobile furniture that supports tasks and the transitions between them. From lecture to discussion to group work, students can flow naturally between types of work without the environment impeding their momentum. Yet even with increased mobility, students don’t lose out on other necessities such as surface space or comfort.

“We have a lot of workspace, so students are not just constrained to uneven desks when we put them together,” Yeh said. “Students have a lot of space when they work in groups.”

Entering its third year, the Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant was developed to create partnerships between Steelcase, educators and institutions who are interested in using their physical classroom space to advance learning in new and important ways. For the 2017 grant period, each Active Learning Center Grant covers the furniture, integrated technology, design, installation and post-occupancy measurement tool for classrooms ranging from 24-32 students. While Yeh’s new active learning environment fits the needs of his students and his teaching, it’s not the only option for those interested in receiving a redesigned space through the grant. Four classroom options are available to recipients, featuring a range of research-led applications. In total, the grant is valued at $62,000 — which doesn’t account for the implicit value of a space that supports and inspires student activity and engagement.

Interested in applying? Read more about the grant here, and save the date for December 1 to begin applying for the 2017 grant. Frequently asked questions are answered on Steelcase’s grant profile, but questions can also be sent to our education team at Custer. Still wondering if the Active Learning Center Grant is right for your school? Let Yeh’s experience inspire you:

“With the help of the Steelcase Active Learning Center Grant we turned an idea and a concept into a reality,” Yeh said. “It really affirmed that trying to introduce more innovation and collaboration into our schools is the right way for education.


Custer is proud to bring you insights from our partner, Steelcase.
Custer is proud to bring you insights from our partner, Steelcase.

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