Furniture maker offers grants for ‘active-learning’ classrooms


The Verb Classroom "active learning" design focuses on the importance of movement in learning. Courtesy Steelcase

Schools across the country can apply to receive a $65,000 classroom makeover from a local furniture maker.

Steelcase said its third-annual "active-learning classroom" grant cycle has begun.

The program provides modern and flexible classroom re-designs to schools across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Steelcase said the new classrooms will be awarded to “innovative schools” and show a commitment to fostering student “engagement, creativity and success.”

The grant application process opened on Dec. 1 and will close on Feb. 10. Winners will be announced on March 24.

Grades six through 12, community colleges and four-year colleges are all eligible and encouraged to apply. Schools are also permitted to submit applications for library and media center spaces, if their purpose is for instructor-led learning.

Steelcase said during this grant cycle, up to 15 awardees will be given one of four active-learning environments, featuring modern furniture provided by Steelcase Education.

Each classroom is valued at $65,000.

Grant applicants are asked to describe their teaching goals, the pedagogy they plan to implement in the new classrooms and how an active-learning environment will positively benefit both their teaching and their students.

They will also be asked to describe how they plan to measure their students' success rates and how they will share that information with the broader education community.

Grantees will be selected based on “education strategies” that align with active-learning philosophies.

Last year's program received more than 800 applicants, and 13 recipients were chosen from North America and Canada.

Sean Corcorran, GM of Steelcase Education, said studies and Steelcase research have show that “space impacts behavior.”

“Students in active-learning classrooms are reaching new levels of focus and achieving in ways they weren't before," Corcorran said. "The ALC grant program is connecting schools with modern, flexible furniture that supports learning in ways — ways that outdated chairs and desks aligned neatly in rows does not."

To apply, schools can find the application on the Steelcase Education website.

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