NYC Cause and Effect

The economy may be causing schools to tighten their belts, but many companies are stepping up to the plate and helping to fill the gap. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing about a number of exciting projects that have gotten underway, all geared toward providing better learning environments for our students. Many of these projects would not be happening without the generous support of many companies and individuals who wholeheartedly support education.

This summer, the New York City Department of Education embarked on an innovative learning project for 80 middle school students called the “School of One.” Their goal was to provide these students with personalized, effective and dynamic classroom instruction that was customized to their individual academic needs and learning styles. Instead of a traditional one-teacher and 25 student classroom model, each student participated in a combination of teacher-led instruction, one-on-one tutoring, independent learning and work with virtual tutors. This means that students in the same classroom can receive profoundly different instruction — tailored to their needs and the way they learn best. Intrinsic to the design of this flexible learning-style program was the need for flexible furnishings. The HON Company stepped up to the plate and provided the furniture for this exciting new project. The educational results of this program are still being reviewed, but indications are that it was extremely successful.

On the other side of the country, Brighten a Life, an Arizona nonprofit organization that produces eco-friendly projects, has launched its Green Schoolhouse Series. The organization is partnering with manufacturers, architects and some of the nation’s leading construction firms that are donating time and materials to build schoolhouses on existing campuses. These healthy, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, stand-alone buildings can be used as added classroom space during the day to facilitate educational after-school programs in the afternoons, and for nonprofit and community groups on nights and weekends. Of their first four schoolhouses to be built, the first two buildings will be constructed on the campus of Maricopa County Community College’s new Rio Salado Charter High School. The second two are being built on two Phoenix local middle and elementary school sites that applied to receive them as grants.

Thanks to all of you who participate in programs like these!