• April 12, 2016
    Upper St. Clair awarded active learning classroom by Steelcase Education

    Steelcase Grant Upper St. Clair School District is one of only 13 schools and universities from throughout the nation to receive the installation of an active learning classroom through the Active Learning Center program, a grant initiative in its second year founded by Steelcase Education. The grant award, valued at nearly $62,000, will provide state-of-the-art furniture and classroom design that will enable the implementation of the new Innovation Hub @ Boyce Middle School.

    Modeled after the Innovation Hub @ Upper St. Clair High School, which opened in 2014 and includes a MIT-certified FAB Lab, the Boyce initiative furthers the district’s strategic plan to increase STEAM opportunities for all students.

    “In 2015, the Upper St. Clair School District set a goal to increase the depth and breadth of STEAM curriculum offerings and improve the integration of STEAM across the curriculum and at all levels for all students,” Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole, superintendent of schools, said. “Through the generous support of Steelcase Education, we can expand these innovative programs to our students at Boyce Middle School this fall.”

    Beginning this summer, a Steelcase Education learning environment will be installed at Boyce Middle School by Franklin Interiors. Ready for the 2016-17 school year, the active learning classroom, which features a maker space, will positively impact teaching and learning by providing an educational space that encourages creativity, collaboration and discovery.

    “Upper St. Clair School District was chosen for its commitment to utilizing progressive pedagogies and active learning strategies that truly impact student engagement,” Craig Wilson, director of market development for Steelcase Education, said. “Teachers and students at Boyce Middle School will now be able to utilize a flexible learning space and explore the capabilities of an environment built specifically for improved engagement and collaboration.”

    In addition to receiving a new classroom, Boyce Middle School staff will receive training from Steelcase on the uses of the technology and furniture in their new spaces and will have the opportunity to participate in a community of practice with all awarded schools to share insights and best practices. Over the two-year program, Steelcase Education and Upper St. Clair School District will partner together to conduct assessments and research on the impact of the newly designed space.

    “We are honored to be recognized by The Active Learning Center grant,” Brad Wilson, Upper St. Clair’s supervisor of customized and online learning, said. “Like Steelcase we place a priority on providing students with the most engaging and active learning spaces available so we are excited to be able to continue in our mission with the installation of this unique classroom.”

    Steelcase research has shown that active learning environments positively impact student engagement. When surveyed, a majority of students and educators reported that the active learning classrooms contributed to higher engagement, the expectation of better grades, more motivation and more creativity, when compared to traditional row-by-row seating.

    Along with Upper St. Clair School District, 12 other schools and universities were chosen from among 800 applications for their unique approaches to active learning. For more information on the winners, visit the Steelcase Education website.

    The Innovation Hub @ Upper St. Clair High School provides specialized equipment and software that students use to engage in project-based learning and hands-on fabrication, bridging between the concepts taught in traditional classrooms and the real-world applications. The Innovation Hub is the cornerstone of two initiatives: an MIT-certified FAB Lab and SHOP@USC, a student-run business that combines STEAM opportunities, business skills and life skills. The Innovation Hub@USCHS was made possible through generous donations from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, The Grable Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the PTSO and several individual donors.

    “Innovation Hubs in our schools facilitate STEAM opportunities within our classrooms and our curriculum,” Dr. O’Toole said. “Generous contributions and support have enabled these projects to come to fruition and we look forward to extending these opportunities to all middle and elementary students in the coming years.”

    Steelcase Education
    As lifelong learners, Steelcase Education aims to make a difference in education. For students, educators and designers, the organization creates the most effective, rewarding and inspiring learning spaces. As a dedicated group within Steelcase exclusively focused on education, it brings evidence-based design, technology and innovative solutions to education environments, wherever learning happens.