The District 214 Education Foundation recently received a $100,000 grant from The Coleman Foundation to transform classrooms into innovative laboratories with an entrepreneurial environment.
The grant helped to redesign three classroom spaces to enhance learning for nearly 6,200 students at John Hersey, Rolling Meadows and Buffalo Grove high schools during the 2015-2016 school year.
The labs feature movable desks and chairs, laptops, Genius Bars, TV display panels and monitors to facilitate group work, collaboration and simulate a real-world business atmosphere.
"These flexible spaces will encourage group work among students and are more reflective of the business world," said Dan Ludwigsen, division head of career and technical education at John Hersey High School. "I think kids are excited about going into a new classroom unlike any other."
The classroom spaces will promote entrepreneurship across multiple industries and career pathways including business management and administration, app development and coding, manufacturing, engineering, health sciences, and the arts.
The classroom spaces will help to expand the Entrepreneur program across the district. Student teams are able work in the collaborative environment to create and develop a product. The physical arrangement and technology of the incubator labs prepare students to pitch their business plans to potential investors at the annual Startup Showcase.
This year, six student teams from five District 214 schools competed for $2,500. The winning team, Hoodie Hoop, impressed a panel of judges with their product that easily rethreads drawstrings into clothing items and backpacks.