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School Specialty Expands Partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation to Complete First “Extra Yard Classroom Makeover Project” for 21st Century Learning
Students and teachers at the Victor H. Hexter Elementary School in Dallas, Texas, among other schools from Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Arizona, Florida, and Texas to benefit from new, state-of-the-art classrooms

GREENVILLE, Wis., Jan. 05, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) (“School Specialty”, “SSI” or “the Company”) in collaboration with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation, is excited to announce today the completion of the first classroom makeover as part of the Extra Yard Classroom Makeover Project at the Victor H. Hexter Elementary School in Dallas, Texas! As part of the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers initiative, School Specialty and its SSI Guardian subsidiary have teamed-up to support the Extra Yard Classroom Makeover Project’s mission to provide schools nationwide with innovative classroom supplies, furniture and equipment, technology, and security solutions – all required for a safe 21st Century Learning environment.

College Football Playoff Foundation Logo


In celebration of the 2016 Extra Yard for Teachers Week, an eight-day period (September 17-24, 2016) dedicated to celebrating educators throughout the country, the CFP Foundation in partnership with School Specialty, encouraged teachers nationally to submit an application for a chance to win a fully-funded classroom makeover. In total, ten schools would have a chance to win a classroom makeover. To date, six schools have been chosen and an additional four schools will be announced in conjunction with the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Summit and Legacy Summit in Tampa, FL and Dallas, TX on January 7, and January 11, 2017, respectively.

“It is truly an honor to expand our collaboration with the CFP Foundation to support schools with the innovative tools and equipment they require to provide a full 21st Century Safe Learning experience that prepares all of our children for success in their professional and personal life,” stated Joseph M. Yorio, President and Chief Executive Officer of School Specialty. “We are excited to play an active role in this wonderful initiative to transform classrooms and by extension, communities across the U.S. through more modern, safe environments that instill a passion for learning and offer greater educational opportunities. Investing in education is at the heart of School Specialty; we believe in our educators and their devotion to teaching; and we remain committed to delivering carefully curated, comprehensive solutions and resources, including technologies for unlocking the promise of a great education and a more secure environment for learning! This is our heritage and these are our hallmarks. We look forward to growing our partnership with the CFP Foundation for years to come.”

As one of the early recipients, 4th Grade Math Teacher Candice Jimoh, on behalf of the Victor H. Hexter Elementary School in Dallas, received the first classroom makeover. The administrators, teachers and students were ecstatic at this opportunity! As a strategic partner, School Specialty’s Projects by Design (PbD) and SSI Guardian teams worked side by side with the CFP Foundation, Principal Jennifer Jackson, Ms. Jimoh, and fellow staff members to transform the school’s math classroom into a forward-thinking, technology-enabled and interactive learning space. The PbD group, which has 20+ years of experience furnishing educational institutions, sourced state-of-the-art desks, tables, chairs, and various accessories such as carpets and clocks from SSI’s Classroom Select® line and various vendor partners. Specifically, SSI’s NeoClass™ seating solutions which focus on motion, provide the kind of classroom flexibility and student collaboration required for a 21st Century education. Designed to meet ergonomic needs and stimulate alertness and creativity, the modern furnishings will allow Ms. Jimoh and her students to quickly and easily configure the math classroom to various instructional layouts, whether it’s for an engaging discussion, a group lecture, or an individual project. Another welcoming feature is the built-in marker boards that the mobile desks and tables have, which will enable students to make notes and exchange ideas directly onto the multi-purpose furniture.

Technology integration is also key to 21st Century Learning, so it was important for Victor H. Hexter Elementary students to have access to the latest hi-tech applications and devices in their renovated classroom. To this end, the PbD team installed the cutting-edge ActivPanel by Promethean which helps with team-based problem solving. Touch-screen features allow images to be manipulated and transform the traditional front-of-the-classroom interactive display into a collaborative learning center where students can simultaneously share. In addition to the curriculum and furniture, both Principal Jackson and Ms. Jimoh recognize technology as a crucial piece of the classroom enhancements. The latest functional tools will enable more visual and concrete instruction and increase learning in a comfortable, peer-sharing setting.

Beyond the assortment of supplies and furniture, School Specialty’s SSI Guardian team is supporting Victor H. Hexter Elementary with innovative equipment that empower administrators and staff with best practices for security. A 21st century education cannot exist without a 21st century safe school environment. Vital to classroom security, the school will receive the Guardian QAL – Quick Action Lockdown, the only classroom deadbolt device meeting life and safety codes which is designed to meet Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommendations for classroom lockdowns. This lock functions as a regular classroom lock for everyday use and when there is a need for a lockdown, pressing the red button instantly throws the deadbolt to the locked position. Other critical elements the school will have include NAR classroom trauma kits and lockdown shades.

Stay tuned to watch this classroom makeover come to life on January 7. A video highlighting the first Extra Yard Classroom Makeover Project experience will be released on Facebook and Twitter: @CFPExtraYard and @SchoolSpecialty.

Commenting on the first classroom makeover, Britton Banowsky, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff Foundation, stated, “This is a very special moment for the students and teachers at the Victor H. Hexter Elementary School, and we celebrate with them on their newly upgraded math classroom. Seeing the expressions of excitement and appreciation on everyone’s faces is what makes this program so rewarding. We are extremely thankful to School Specialty for their outstanding work on this project and are grateful for an experienced partner who understands what classrooms require to foster 21st Century Learning. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with the School Specialty team and sharing more developments on this and other classroom makeovers around the country.”

In addition to a presentation by Michael A. Yorio, President of SSI Guardian, at the CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers Summit in Tampa, FL on January 7, School Specialty is proud to be an exhibitor at the Teachers’ Lounge, where teachers are welcome to enjoy energizing activities, refreshments and entertainment during the weekend of the College Football Playoff National Championship.

About the College Football Playoff Foundation and Extra Yard for Teachers
The College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation is the charitable arm of the College Football Playoff and supports education and teachers across the country. The CFP Foundation creates multiple partnerships to execute its initiatives and support positive educational outcomes. The Foundation’s primary philanthropic initiative, Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT), elevates the teaching profession by inspiring and empowering quality teachers through the development and implementation of programs in three key focus areas: direct provision of resources, teacher recognition, and professional development training.

To join the social conversation, follow Extra Yard for Teachers on social media (Facebook:/ExtraYardforTeachers; Twitter/Instagram: @CFPExtraYard) and use the hashtag #CFPExtraYard.

About the College Football Playoff
The College Football Playoff matches the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4, and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in semifinal games that rotate annually among the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Goodyear Cotton Bowl, Capital One Orange Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, and Fiesta Bowl. The 2016 semifinals took place December 31 at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. The national championship game will be Monday, January 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. Through its SSI Guardian subsidiary, the Company is also committed to school, healthcare and corporate workplace safety by offering the highest quality curriculum, training and safety and security products. Finally, through its SOAR Life Products brand, the Company offers thousands of products that sharpen cognitive skills and build physical and mental strength in fun and creative ways. From childhood through adulthood, they help individuals live life to the fullest – engaged, happy and well.  SOAR Life Products is a customized offering for hospitals, long-term care, therapeutic facilities, home care, surgery centers, day care centers, physician offices, and clinics. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

@SchoolSpecialty
Connect with School Specialty on social media; search School Specialty on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. For Ideas and resources, educational trends and inspiration for today’s educators – visit the Schoolyard blog.

Company Contacts:
Rich Harney
SVP, Marketing – School Specialty
Tel: 920-882-5713
Email: rich.harney@schoolspecialty.com

Ryan Allen Hall
College Football Playoff Foundation
Tel: 469-262-5200
Email: rhall@collegefootballplayoff.com

Media Contacts:
Glenn Wiener and Dionne Manchester
GW Communications (for School Specialty)
Tel: 212-786-6011 / 212-786-6068
Email: gwiener@GWCco.com / dionne@GWCco.com

Ken Luce
LDWW Group (for CFP Foundation)
Tel: 214-783-8031
Email: ken@ldwwgroup.com

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School Specialty, Inc