Hawthorne Elementary School

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Foundation Funds Pilot Future Ready Learning Spaces

The District 205 Foundation for Educational Excellence unanimously approved to provide $50,000 to help fund the Future Ready Model Classroom project, a pilot program that will create three future ready classrooms at the K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 grade levels. The Foundation will use proceeds earned throughout the year to help fund the project, which began this summer and should be completed in late fall of 2016.

Foundation Chair Brian Bresnahan explains, “Our mission states that we are dedicated to innovations in education. Helping to move the District further along the spectrum of Future Ready Learning is definitely something we want to be involved with. I think the community will see the value in it and support us.”


Schools selected for project are Fischer (Dawin Strelow/ Kindergarten), Lincoln (Cecilia Dunn/third grade) and Bryan Middle School (Erin Fox/6th grade). In the spring of 2016, all three teachers, along with principals Jane Bailey (Fischer) and Jacquie Discipio (Bryan), as well as Mr. Bresnahan and Foundation Executive Director Lisa Fanelli, participated in Future Ready Model Classroom workshops, led by Wight and Company, the District’s architects. “You could feel the excitement in the room as teachers and administrators collaborated on a vision for the future that would permanently impact the classroom experience on a daily basis,” said Mrs. Fanelli.

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Architectural firm Wight & Company was hired by the District as part of a process to develop a long-range Facility Master Plan. Wight has completed a facility study that resulted in an educational alignment guide. Findings and recommendations from this guide will be used to move forward. According to Wight, ready schools must be “agile” and accommodate small group collaboration, learning commons, hubs for social learning, tech-infused spaces, STEM and maker spaces, as well as addressing safety and security considerations, health and comfort, fitness/wellness and outdoor learning.

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“The fact that we received multiple Thiems Grant applications requesting new types of seating options, desks and other furnishings, is evidence that teachers want their classrooms to evolve in order to meet current needs,” said Geri Sorrentino, Foundation Programs Chair and District REACH teacher at Hawthorne Elementary School.
 


These model classrooms will allow people to go beyond imagining what future ready learning environments could be and will actually make the vision come to life in these spaces. Both the Board of Education and Superintendent Moyer have expressed gratitude to the Foundation Board for their support in this project. “These classrooms will assist with future planning to ensure that, one day, all District 205 students will be afforded the opportunity to learn in an environment that promotes engagement, rigor, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and citizenship in the global information age,” commented Dr. David Moyer, Superintendent of Schools.

Following the completion of these model classrooms, the plan is to gather feedback from participating teachers and students to develop a recommendation toward a District standard for furniture, finishes and integrating classroom technology, as part of a visionary Facility Master Plan. These model classrooms will test and inform that process.

There will be a special public open house at Bryan Middle School on Monday, October 24, from 5:15 to 6:35 PM, just prior to the Focus 205 focus group meetings, held at the three District 205 middle schools from 7 to 8:30 PM.

"We are thrilled with the Foundation's support for Future Ready learning in the District. We could not be more appreciative and are excited for the potential that this project has to begin to shape future decisions about how we utilize space to support learning and teaching," noted Superintendent Dr. David Moyer.

This project is another example of supporting innovation and positioning the District for the future. The Foundation has funded and supported numerous pilots over the years, most of which have later been adopted to benefit teachers and students.

Detailed information about plans for the classrooms, as well as the opportunity to make a donation supporting the project, can be found on the District 205 Foundation website: www.elmhurst205.org/futurereadyclass

Posted by: Katherine Schroeder, District Admin, Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Published:10/19/16
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