Classrooms of the Future

Classrooms of the Future
Posted on 05/16/2018
Classrooms of the Future winners

Two innovative teachers have been named as the winners of the 2018 Classrooms of the Future initiative. Carolyn Hechler, a fourth-grade teacher at Cold Harbor Elementary School (CHES), was awarded $28,000, and Kelly Pace, an English teacher at Atlee High School (AHS), was awarded $15,000 by the Hanover Education Foundation to transform their classrooms.

This Classrooms of the Future initiative was first introduced in 2017 by Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools, to promote innovative, relevant, and active learning spaces that focus on collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication.

Mr. Norman Sulser (School Board member, Cold Harbor District), Mr. Rob Stiles (President, Hanover Education Foundation), Ms. Carolyn Hechler (fourth-grade teacher at Cold Harbor Elementary School), and Dr. Michael Gill (Superintendent of Schools)Hechler worked with her students to design a student-centered, research-backed space focused on meeting the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs of elementary students. They evaluated a variety of factors, such as complexity, color, organization, flexibility, and lighting. In addition, she plans to incorporate additional technology, such as laptops, iPads, and recording equipment to provide students with access to authentic tools and resources.

“Ideas about the classroom I wanted have been floating around my head for years now, and this year I shifted my thinking to creating the classroom that my students want. Working with my students has been an incredible and eye-opening journey, and I am so excited to announce that I am looping with the class that inspired the design! These kids will get to experience the room they have been imagining and leave a lasting imprint on their school community. We are so thankful to the Hanover Education Foundation for providing us with this amazing opportunity,” said Hechler.

Dr. Cheri Beth Fisher, Principal of CHES, said, “Since beginning her teaching career at CHES, Mrs. Hechler has made it a top priority for her classroom to be an engaging, student-centered space. She consistently seeks out new ways to keep students excited about what and how they are learning. This award will allow Mrs. Hechler to transform her learning environment in an extraordinary way, fulfilling what was only a dream a week ago. We are excited for the opportunities this brings her, our students, and our school.”

Dr. Michael Gill (Superintendent of Schools), Ms. Marla Coleman (School Board member, Henry District), Ms. Kelly Pace (Atlee High School English teacher), Mr. Rob Stiles (President, Hanover Education Foundation), and Ms. Margaret Hill (Executive Director, Hanover Education Foundation).Pace designed a space where students can work collaboratively. The seating will be flexible to allow for different configurations. Dry erase tables will be used to enable students to plan writing ideas or converse in a silent Socratic seminar. A green screen space and recording studio will allow students to create video projects and record oral presentations. A student-led group will also utilize this space as a writing center.

Pace said, “I have wanted to teach since I was playing school at the age of seven in my basement. As my classroom transitioned from that basement to an actual school, it has never been fancy but always felt like home. I am excited to transform the space that I already love into something that will empower all of my students. They are going to change the future, and thanks to the generosity of the Hanover Education Foundation, they will be able to do so in a classroom of the future. I truly am honored to be one of the two recipients of the 2018 Classroom of the Future grant. My students amaze me on a daily basis; I truly cannot wait to see what they will do with their new space.”

“Mrs. Pace represents her profession as it is meant to be – a career that embodies thorough content knowledge, support for her colleagues, building a positive rapport with each and every one of her students, and dedication to student achievement for all students. Her passion for her craft, integrity, and talent to inspire and motivate students in her classroom each and every day is second to none. This makes Mrs. Pace a perfect choice for the Classroom of the Future grant from the Hanover Education Foundation. She is a role model for many and friend to all. Quite simply, Raider Nation is a better place with Mrs. Pace,” said Dr. John Wheeler, Principal at AHS.

Hechler and Pace will meet with The Supply Room and Creative Office Environments to discuss their proposed plans and make final selections. The classrooms will be remodeled this summer and are expected to be completed before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

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