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Past Events

Round Table Discussion

Monday, November 8, 2021
4:00 – 5:00 pm Central Time

Location: Hybrid, virtual via Zoom or VS America Showroom #1167 (11th Floor) Merchandise Mart, Chicago
*Mask required in Showroom and the Mart

COVID Relief / ESSER Funding
Round table discussion around ESSER funding and how the funds can be used to support your buildings and physical environments to support the student and teacher wellbeing.


Dr. RJ Webber
Dr. RJ Webber
Novi Community Schools
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. RJ Webber has been a passionate ally and advocate for students and teachers his entire career. He has a focus upon instructional design, curricular design, and social justice that creates space for all stakeholders to reach their potential. In 1991, RJ earned the Alma College Jerry Smith African Teaching Fellowship, committing to a year of teaching at the Mayflower Junior School in Ikenne, Nigeria. It was in Nigeria that RJ began to understand the importance of the educational environment and instructional design.

At Novi Community School Distrcit, RJ has led a community wide approach to social justice efforts that focus upon student and educator voice. He has partnered with the University of Michigan School of Social Work, Oakland Schools, and the Novi Community to offer training in culturally relevant instruction.
Steve Barr
Steve Barr
Oak Park School District
Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Steven Barr has dedicated 26 years of his career advocating for K-12 education. After working in public accounting after graduating from Michigan State University, Steve worked in the Utica Community Schools, Troy School District, Macomb Intermediate School District, Novi Community School District and also the City of Farmington Hills prior to his current assignment in Oak Park Schools. In addition to being a leader in school finance, he feels strongly about the positive impact that agile furniture has on teaching and learning. He co-led the implementation of flexible furniture in all classrooms in the Novi Community School District beginning in 2015, with Dr. RJ Webber.

FREE to attend. Please RSVP.

Must register by November 7. The link will be sent out to virtual attendees on November 8.

Chapter Social

June 24, 2021
4:00 pm

Forward Space Forward Space
650 N. Wood Dale Rd
Wood Dale, IL

Wood Dale Showroom: Focus on Education
We will have an active learning classroom setting and additional new education products placed within our working showroom at 650 N. Wood Dale Rd in Wood Dale, IL. Representatives from Steelcase Learning and Smith System on hand to answer questions as well as team members from Forward Space’s Education Team.

Join us FREE today for this social. Please RSVP for accurate headcount for the event.

Learning Spaces

Steelcase Education & Smith System

Virtual Event

June 2, 2021
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Navigating What's Next: Learning Spaces
Research, applications + solutions to activate learning

Anchored by Steelcase Education and Smith System, our diverse portfolio of brands and partners offer unique capabilities to support your needs at every level of learning with research, applications and solutions.

Join us for a tailored 60-minute virtual engagement to hear from our education leaders and tour newly designed spaces in our showroom.

Reserve your spot now!

We understand educators, leaders and designers like you are always thinking about how to create more engaging learning environments that create better outcomes. More than ever, experiences and spaces need to be reimagined to make face-to-face or blended learning even better than before.

At Steelcase, we continue to draw on the knowledge of our network of global education clients, thought leaders and experts to explore and understand the latest implications to teaching and learning. Our focus is on learning, wherever it happens and that includes experiences at K-12 schools, higher education institutions or in the workplace.

I would like to invite you and your team to an interactive 45-minute virtual session to address your current challenges and to share the latest research, applications and solutions from Steelcase Education and Smith System. This engagement will feature a Steelcase expert and a tour of newly designed pop-up spaces.

You will not see PowerPoint slides or anything like that on this tour. We have a quick 15-second video here that starts to give you a feel on why this visit is different. Check out

FREE to attend! This event will be a virtual tour and the link will be sent on June 1 in the afternoon.

Must register by 9:00 am on June 1, 2021.

Virtual Tour

March 16, 2021
4:00 pm Central

Jefferson Early Childhood Center, Wheaton, IL
Presented by Legat Architects

Jefferson Early Childhood Center Playful patterns, sensory havens, and integrated therapy: competition-winning design supports early learners at all developmental stages.

Find out how the new Jefferson Early Childhood Center (ECC) kicks off a lifelong learning adventure for Community Unit School District 200's youngest students. The virtual tour will reveal how the design, winner of a district-sponsored competition, inspires curiosity and discovery for early learners, including the two-thirds of Jefferson ECC students who have special needs or disabilities. The 59,000-square-foot school offers collaborative classrooms and dedicated indoor/outdoor therapy spaces, as well as a community welcome center and resource room for parent training. District and school leaders will share how community engagement sessions, early learning programming, and teacher input influenced the design. The architectural team will use 3-D models and hand drawings to help attendees visualize design challenges.

The highlight of the tour is the sensory courtyard at the heart of the facility. Visible from throughout the school, the courtyard offers a haven for students at all developmental stages to create, explore, and interact. Attendees will also experience a secondary outdoor therapy space designed to promote independence and confidence, as well as a motor skills zone that doubles as a tornado shelter. Among other areas the tour guides will introduce are a controlled vestibule entry, community welcome center, integrated therapy rooms, and corridors that encourage exercise and creative play.

The tour will show how the design exemplifies "ergonomic transposition," which considers how small children experience the world. For instance, exterior and interior glazing frames views from a child's perspective: high windows display sky and clouds, while low windows reveal grass and plants. Throughout the building, windows are aligned to create moments of discovery—some spots allow occupants to see clear through the building.

Attendees will learn about the steps the design team took to lower the building's carbon footprint and energy consumption. Lightweight fiber cement panels used on classroom wings reduce the embodied carbon load. Energy-saving features include a geothermal field and north- and south-facing classroom windows.

Come see the Jefferson ECC, where energy and discovery are around every corner.

Learning Objectives:
  • Discover how community engagement and client leadership drove the design process for the early learning center.
  • Illustrate how technology is a communication tool with 3-D walk throughs generated in Enscape and façade design iterations using Revit.
  • Identify key design elements that differentiate early learning design through “ergonomic transposition”, how small children experience the world.
  • Analyze the building’s carbon foot print and reduced energy consumption.

Tour Presenters:
Stephanie Mangini, Principal at Jefferson
Jeff Schuler, Superintendent at CUSD 200
Robin Randall, Principal, Legat Architects
Loren Johnson, Project Architect, Legat Architects
Paul Pessetti, Project Manager, Legat Architects

Members FREE | Non-members $20
AIA CEU’s pending

Must register by March 16, 2021 at 9:00 am Central.

Chapter Webinar

December 3, 2020
4:00 PM Central

Glennbrook North
Purpose Over Preference: Designing Spaces for Impact
Join members of the Glenbrook High School team and partners to virtually visit four spaces anchored to purpose over preference and discover the process that created the opportunity for impact.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify the intersection between purpose, process, and change management when embarking on a journey of transforming learning spaces.
  2. Recognize the value of meaningful partnerships between institutions and solutions providers with shared perspectives of designing intentional learning spaces.
  3. Evaluate a set of strategies and tools for understanding people, place, and purpose.
  4. Review case-studies that apply the techniques discussed at the beginning of the session.

Learning Space (District Oversight) Rosanne Williamson, Assistant Supt of Edu Services
Learning Space Lead (Curriculum), Ryan Bretag Director of Instructional Innovation
Learning Space Lead (Operations), Kim Ptak Director of Operations
Partner, Lisa Martin Arcon and Associate Designer
Partner, Brad Raysby, Rally Point Endeavors Mission Chief and Visionary Officer
Learning Space Storyteller, Karen Geddeis Director of Communication and Studio E Strategist

Members: FREE | Non-members: $10

Deadline to register: December 3, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Chapter Event

Friday, January 24, 2020
5:30 – 7:30 PM

7 Oakbrook Center
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Join A4LE Chicagoland for a night of Bocce and fun at Pinstripes in Oak Brook! We'll share upcoming events and new opportunities for engagement with the A4LE Chicagoland Chapter.

Free to attend: please RSVP

Chapter Social

Monday, October 15, 2018
5:30 – 7:30 PM

Steelcase Showroom
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 302
Chicago, IL

Drinks and appetizers will be provided.

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm Drinks and appetizers
6:00 pm – 6:10 pm Welcome and introductions
6:10 pm – 6:30 pm
  • 5 current trends we are seeing within the K-12 and A&D communities
  • What customers are asking for
  • High level overview of our current and soon to be released research and insights
6:30 pm – 7:00 pm Showroom tour

theMART is walking distance from the Metra stations and moments from the Ohio Street ramp of 90/94.

Get Directions

The building is easily accessible through the following travel options:
  • CTA bus stops
  • CTA elevated train “L” stop on the second floor
  • Taxi stand on the South Drive
  • Walking distance to Ogilvy and Union Stations
  • Quick, easy driving access to major expressways
  • MartParcWells garage, located at the corner of Kinzie and Wells Streets

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