Milwaukee, WI — (October 5, 2018) Local Steelcase dealer, Forrer Business Interiors surprised students and teachers at Messmer High School on Friday with a complete classroom transformation ‘while they were out’.
Each year Forrer Business Interiors, located in Glendale, Wisconsin, takes a day off to bring all the employees together for team-building, personal development, community service projects and fun group activities. Last year, Forrer surprised employees with a bus ride down to the lakefront to replicate an all-employee photo that was taken in 1986. This year, in celebration of their 70th anniversary, the company wanted to go even bigger with their surprise group activity.
On October 5th, all 60 Forrer employees boarded a school bus and took the short trip down Port Washington Road to Messmer High School, taking advantage of a scheduled day off.
During a 2-hour period, the Forrer team rolled up their sleeves and cleaned out a classroom at Messmer High School, replacing old furniture with a brand-new active learning environment featuring mobile chairs and tables, whiteboards, modern white boards and other classroom accessories. Students and faculty returned to the classroom on Monday to a completely redesigned, modern classroom.
“This Forrer Interiors gift is catalytic. The students will be activated into learning in a different way. Teachers now have the flexibility to teach the whole group and then, within literally seconds, they can break the group down into smaller groups. The excitement on their faces when they arrived to a new classroom was palpable. It was as if they were saying ‘for me?’.” – Messmer President, Jim Piatt.
Messmer High School is a private school founded in 1926, and is a participant in the state’s Parental School Choice program. It is located in Milwaukee off Capitol Drive, just blocks from Forrer. The high school serves over 700 students and is a part of K-12 system that serves over 1,500 students at three locations on the north side of Milwaukee. Messmer is also the Alma Mater of Forrer’s President, Pat Koppa.
“To give back to a school where I once roamed the halls at is so incredibly awesome. When my team approached me about the idea of giving back to our neighboring school, I was thrilled,” said Koppa.
Education environments are a big focus for Forrer as their core manufacturing partner, Steelcase, designs award-winning education furniture that improves student success. Additionally, Forrer CEO, Randy Howard is passionate about improving education opportunities for students in Southeastern Wisconsin. Randy is a strong supporter of HeartLove Place as well as MMAC’s COSBE “Be the Spark” program, which provides junior high students with the opportunity to tour different workplaces, learn about career opportunities and understand how their future desires line up with jobs of today.
Active learning environments influence engagement by supporting active and collaborative learning and multimodal teaching. Studies show that active learning methods significantly improved student exam marks and satisfaction over traditional classrooms. Active learning is not a new concept; it’s one students and teachers globally have been using for years. However, the tools to support active learning are continually evolving to support changes in pedagogy and technology.
The Steelcase Education portfolio of products include active learning-based designs like the iconic Node chair, which allows students to shift around and adapt more easily to the many modes of learning. Node also swivels allowing students to direct their attention to other students or group-activities.
Other key education product includes the Verb table and whiteboard system, Active Media Table, Brody student lounge/desk and Thread classroom power distribution system. Steelcase also recently acquired leading K-12 furniture manufacturer, Smith Systems, to round out their offering of products for primary and secondary education environments.