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School Specialty and PunkinFutz Enter Exclusive Distribution Agreement to Deliver Innovative, Evidence-based Sensory Solutions for Learners with Various Abilities

Companies collaborate to enable the true 21st century learning environment where students with all needs are fully supported

PunkinFutz
PunkinHug creative play vest with green trim


PunkinFutz Logo.jpg


GREENVILLE, Wis. and BROOKLYN, N.Y., Oct. 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB: SCOO) (“School Specialty”, “SSI” or “the Company”), home of the 21st Century Safe School™ and leading provider of products and innovative solutions that support integrated learning environments for improved student social, emotional, mental and physical well-being, is pleased to announce its exclusive distribution partnership with New York-based PunkinFutz, an innovator of products that support creative play and choice-making for students with various physical, emotional and sensory needs.

“We’re excited to team-up with a pioneering, community-driven enterprise such as PunkinFutz to deliver proven, quality solutions that address market needs and bring additional value to our customers,” said Doug Welles, Vice President of Sales – Specialty Businesses. “Through our School Specialty channel, we are proud to serve as the premier seller of PunkinFutz products to educators, occupational/physical therapists, parents, and care-givers seeking trusted capabilities that support all learners and advance their educational journeys.”

As the exclusive distributor, School Specialty will market the range of environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible resources from PunkinFutz within the United States. The partnership offers greater access to a tool set that supports transformative environments which foster equity -- giving each and every student what they need to thrive.

“At PunkinFutz, we’re committed to creating original products that focus on the unique needs of each child. In addition to our collaborative design process, we source only the highest quality, environmentally-friendly materials and produce all of our original products in adaptive workplaces here in the U.S. We create exceptional products for your child today and job opportunities for your child’s tomorrow,” stated Lisa Radcliffe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a 30 percent rise in the number of children diagnosed with Autism in the last 10 years. PunkinFutz proudly supports this community. At the same time, our Universal Design approach makes our products appropriate for all children. Our partnership with School Specialty enhances our reach to an underserved customer base and we look forward to accomplishing great things together!”

PunkinFutz’s innovative, child-centric creative play system reflects the changing needs of each child and provides a different experience with each usage. The PunkinHug, for example, is a light-weight vest and the foundation of the integrated system. The fully breathable vest made of an open-cell foam has a highly-customizable 5-way fit that provides a deep compression while also delivering endless creative play options. The unique fabrication features a soft external loop and allows kids to express their creativity and individualization by attaching anything they want using Velcro®, making the PunkinHug a one-of-a-kind play experience.

“PunkinFutz products are multipurpose and relevant in our early childhood curriculum. They have allowed our students to explore their world in a variety of ways, across a variety of domains of development, such as language, motor, intellectual and social,” said Dr. Susan Straut Collard, Ph.D., Director, Dillon Child Study Center at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, New York. “By using PunkinFutz products in our classrooms, we can address the Whole Child, which is so important to our mission. And, they are durable, colorful, washable and fun!”

Mr. Welles continued, “The PunkinFutz tool set aligns with our 21stCentury Safe School initiative to drive solutions that enable educators and support the physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being of all students in their learning environments, with the objective of generating better outcomes. We’re excited for the future and strengthening this relationship for our customers’ benefit.”

About PunkinFutz
Launched in 2016, PunkinFutz uses universal design to create original therapeutic play products and accessories for children with a broad range of physical, sensory, developmental and emotional needs. PunkinFutz products promote individual expression, creativity and fun! All PunkinFutz original products are manufactured in the USA in supportive and adaptive workplaces using the highest quality materials and responsible sourcing. PunkinFutz is a member of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). All PunkinFutz products meet ASTM F963/CPSIA and Proposition 65 standards.

For more information, please visit www.PunkinFutz.com. Connect with PunkinFutz on social media; search PunkinFutz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty designs, develops and delivers a broad assortment of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace, including essential classroom supplies, furniture, educational technology, supplemental learning resources, science-based curriculum, and evidence-based safety and security training. The Company applies its unmatched team of subject-matter experts and customized planning, development and project management tools to deliver this comprehensive offering as the 21st Century Safe School™, a concept built around best-practice school environments that support the social, emotional, mental, and physical safety of students – improving both their learning outcomes and school district performance.

For more information, visit https://corporate.schoolspecialty.com/ or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Find ideas, resources and inspiration by visiting our blog: https://blog.schoolspecialty.com/.


PunkinFutz Contacts:
Whitney Hunter-Thomson
Chief Marketing Officer
Tel: 347-577-9977
Email: whitney@punkinfutz.com

Media Contact:
Sara McGovern
Litzky Public Relations (for PunkinFutz)
Tel: 201-222-9118 Ext: 30
Email: smcgovern@litzkypr.com

School Specialty Contacts:     
Katie Fenton
Marketing Manager - Physical Education, Special Needs, Early Childhood, Out of School
Tel: 800-772-7573 
Email: katie.fenton@schoolspecialty.com
           
Media Contact:
Dionne Manchester
GW Communications (for School Specialty)
Tel: 212-786-6068
Email: dionne@GWCco.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/3685766b-0c76-4b43-af5d-cf09232da961

School Specialty, Inc. logo

Source: School Specialty, Inc