Meet 16 organizations redefining learning space

Blueprint for Learning cohort members will participate in a space design intensive and receive $50,000 each to remake their own innovative learning space


Last night’s CelebratED red carpet was tinged with blue, as Remake Learning officially announced its Blueprint for Learning cohort before an audience of regional, national, and global educators.

As part of the Blueprint for Learning grant opportunity, each of the 16 cohort members will receive $50,000 to reimagine a learning space or classroom to better meet the evolving needs of 21st-century learners.

Developed in partnership with the National Design Alliance and Reimagine America’s Schools, and funded by the Grable, Benedum, and Hillman foundations, Blueprint for Learning’s $800,000 investment represents the largest single investment in learning space design in the history of the network. To date, Remake Learning has facilitated over 150 classroom transformations in the Pittsburgh region.

Educators list elements of their dream learning space.

Why Space Design?

Research shows that where students learn can make an enormous difference in how well they learn. Spaces designed with modern learners in mind can support both collaboration and independent work while also encouraging students to think creatively and use new technologies. This scientific link between physical space and learning provides a solid foundation for the work of the Blueprint cohort.

Remake Learning Director Sunanna Chand addresses attendees at the Space Design Summit in July 2019.

“Through these grants, we’re bringing educators together with architects and designers. Together they’ll exchange knowledge and expertise as they design new kinds of classrooms, workshops, and community spaces for learning,” said Remake Learning director Sunanna Chand.

Co-Creation & A Collaborative Design Process

The cohort will meet for three intensive design sessions through November 2019. Building from this summer’s Space Design Summit, the sessions will bring all cohort members together with national design experts and local architects to finalize their space design plans.

Though each cohort member entered the design process with a rudimentary idea, the sessions will help them hone and operationalize their plans. Design sessions will also position each cohort member to assume a local leadership role, whereby they can share space design best practices with other schools and organizations throughout the region.

Eager to start honing their visions, the cohort met for the first design session on September 11-13. A dozen architects led 75 educators through an in-depth review of the design process, including critical community-building aspects, and visioning exercises.

“Everyone involved is feeling very inspired. We knew going in that we wanted many different types of organizations involved in this cohort. What has been impressive, though, is that with the number of different organizations involved we have seen nothing but the highest level of dedication, hard work, and positivity,” said Remake Learning field director Ani Martinez. “Everyone is working from the heart and working together and that is producing fantastic projects.”

Meet the Blueprint for Learning Cohort

The Blueprint for Learning cohort includes a diverse group of nonprofit organizations and schools from southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia who serve students in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Their educational focuses range from theater and the arts to community development, sensory learning, STEM, and more.

Check back in early 2020 as the cohort unveils their final plans for learning space transformation:

Published September 24, 2019