SO News – School Outfitters Blog Furnishing Great Places To Learn Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:51:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Making the Move from Library to Media Center Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:49:10 +0000 As Angela Webb, Director of Sales at School Outfitters, walked the halls of Sycamore High School, the first thing she noticed was the library – and that there was no one in it. The large space was full of potential, but completely outdated. Shelves were lined with old periodicals now accessed online, furniture was not conducive to learning, and the room was dim and drab; students went to the library because they had to – not because they wanted to.

Doug Mader, Sycamore’s principal, expressed a clear vision to Webb: a “Starbucks vibe”, where students would come in, hang out and do work. WeSycamorePhoto-3bb, who had worked with Mader on other projects, was eager to take on the challenge.

She met with the architects to talk about the colors, design and layout of the space. Together, the team discussed what the students would be using it for, and what types of furniture would be most effective. The space needed to foster community and collaboration; the furniture needed to be versatile, modern and comfortable. It needed to encourage group work. And, there needed to be plenty of spots to charge electronics.

To meet these demands, Webb chose mobile furniture that could be easily configured for various-sized groups, as well as comfortSycamorePhoto-2able pieces for reading or studying independently – many of which include built-in power. The team also incorporated a series of Learniture Shapes furniture – versatile seating that doubles as a work surface and fits together in a number of ways – as well as a “hive” centerpiece, where groups can gather for semi-enclosed conversations.

Well into its first year of use, the library now buzzes with activity. Full of students and teachers all day long, the library does just what everyone hoped it would: provide a space for collaboration, education and preparation for the future.


School Outfitters and DePaul Cristo Rey Partner for Internships Wed, 03 Sep 2014 18:38:17 +0000 School Outfitters is proud to start its second year of internships with DePaul Cristo Rey, a college preparatory high school in Cincinnati.

Four students, one from each high school grade, will split time between class and working at School Outfitters in departments ranging from Accounting to Marketing to Customer Relations.

“We support DePaul Cristo Rey because it gives students valuable experience in the real world, something all educational programs should strive to do. Plus, the kids are fun to have around,” says School Outfitters President Tom Brennan.

Expectations are high for the interns, as last year’s interns were quick learners. New this year, the students will also work with School Outfitters’ Analytics department to evaluate web traffic and customer searchengine behaviors, two major components of modern commerce.

School Outfitters’ mission is to help educators prepare people for the future. Its partnership with DePaul Cristo Rey is an extension of that, an opportunity to influence the lives of students directly.

Beyond learning skills important for the office, the goal is to instill the interns with confidence. “We are here to empower these students with the tools that they need to succeed here at SO and help them learn to apply these skills…in future positions,” says Brooke Ball, a School Outfitters employee who will be coaching the students.

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Wrapping Up EdSpaces 2013 Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:54:19 +0000 The show floor at EdSpaces 2013

The show floor at EdSpaces 2013

This year School Outfitters was the exclusive platinum sponsor for EdSpaces, one of the nation’s largest shows for school furniture and equipment. Several members of the School Outfitters team attended the show two weeks ago in San Antonio, Texas and had a great time interacting with teachers and administrators from around the country, not to mention companies that have been making quality school furniture for decades.

“We can’t get so lost in sales numbers, budgets, square footage or the other numbers that drive our activities that we lose sight of the fact that we are in a people industry, serving teachers, children, and each other,” said Betsy Neyer, chief operations officer for School Outfitters.

School Oufitters' booth at The show floor at EdSpaces 2013

School Oufitters’ booth

There were more exhibitors than in years past – and a 30 percent increase in attendance – and we were happy to see so many people who love school furniture as much as we do. We were thrilled to meet so many educators for the first time and share the limitless possibilities for classroom solutions with them.

Looking forward to next year’s show in Tampa, Florida!

Remember Arts and Crafts? Tue, 06 Aug 2013 14:50:28 +0000 Think back to a simpler time. Take a journey back to pre-K days. You know, when we were encouraged to plunge our hands into paint, spread it around a page and take it home to our parents. I think it’s fair to say that most of us remember arts and crafts. Whether we actually enjoyed the creative carte blanche or just appreciated the time away from ABCs, our time spent doing arts and crafts was a welcome foray into teacher-approved mess-making.

Here at School Outfitters, I’m happy to announce our support of arts and crafts fun. As of this summer, we boast art and craft supplies that promote such unbridled creativity amongst kids. With everything from crayons, markers, paint, paper and even the helpful storage options to keep classrooms organized, we hand-picked items that enhance the early learning experience.

As a team, we remembered our own childhood memories while selecting the best products for educators in the classroom. And, well, we came up with a lot of ideas. So, from seedling to sapling to Sequoia-sized, our brainstorming went big. We reached out to Crayola, Elmer’s and Pacon. We brought in aprons, gloves, brushes and easels. We aimed to equip schools with all the arts and crafts essentials for fun-filled activities.

When the process was finished, there were over 2,000 incredible new products at School Outfitters. The Clay, Dough and Modeling section might be my favorite. Beyond the classics like Crayola Dough and Model Magic, Playfoam from Educational Insights is really cool. It doesn’t make any mess, it’s non-toxic and it never dries out. Plus, Playfoam has a texture that separates itself from the rest; the lightweight, soft, no-stick formula also provides an excellent tactile exercise for children. Even for a grownup, this stuff’s hard to set down.

So, just browse Art and Craft Supplies, find your favorites, put ‘em in students’ hands and encourage exploration. Fun sensory experiences make for some of the greatest childhood memories, and our choices were made to inspire hands-on learning.

What was your best pre-K memory? What do you remember most about arts and crafts? Some of us recall the freedom of finger painting while others look back and cringe at ill-advised glue tastings, but we can all relate on how much fun it was to discover new things. Share your story.