Advertisement

Naperville District 203 orders furniture for model classrooms

File Photo
File Photo

New furniture could bring greater opportunities for student collaboration and more flexibility to classrooms in Naperville School District 203, district officials said.

On June 16, the School Board approved spending $325,218.93 to furnish what could be the model for next generation learning in the school district. The plan is quite different from the traditional classroom setup of desks arranged in long rows behind a teacher’s desk.

“I can’t wait to see tables and chairs put together like puzzle pieces,” said School Board member Susan Crotty. “It sounds interesting.”

The School Board authorized the purchase of prototype furniture for the elementary and junior high levels from Frank Cooney & Co. in Wood Dale through The Cooperative Purchasing Network (and National Cooperative Purchasing Agreement for 463,419. Because the district is receiving direct manufacturing and vendor discounts of about $138,200, the net cost to the district is $325,218.

School Board member Kristin Fitzgerald said she was glad to see the district was able to save money from the discounts and asked how the furnishings will be used.

Bridges said the plan is to test out the various pieces in several schools to determine which items work best. From there, the district will develop a prototype that eventually will be rolled out to classrooms throughout the district.

During a May 19 overview on the district’s master facility study, Superintendent Dan Bridges outlined how the furniture update fits in the district’s master facility study.

With the assistance of architectural firm Wight & Co, District 203 performed a comprehensive master facility study to determine how the schools within the district are being used, how programs are being affected by physical constraints, and how the student learning environment or opportunities may be affected. The study identified several areas where the district could improve its facilities to enhance learning. One of those areas was in the classroom.

The School Board approval means three elementary schools and two junior high schools will test different types of furniture that will give teachers more options for collaboration and innovation. Another bid for high school furniture will be submitted for board approval later in the summer.

Beebe Elementary School will get a make-over in its Learning Resource Center into more of an innovation laboratory. According to the district’s plan, the circulation desk will be removed to make way for soft seating, tables and chairs of varying heights and shapes, stools, bean bag chairs, bookshelves both on wheels and fixed, and a “genius bar,” like one might find at an Apple store.

Similar work will be done at Jefferson Junior High, which will test the prototype LRC for the junior high schools. Once again, the circulation desk will be jettisoned in favor of soft seating, tables and chairs of varying heights, and bookshelves that are on wheels for easy mobility.

Beyond the LRCs, District 203 is targeting classrooms around the district.

The district plans call for Elmwood and Prairie schools to test the classroom prototype furniture at the elementary level.

Fifth-grade classrooms at Elmwood Elementary and third-grade classrooms at Prairie Elementary will be fitted with desks and chairs that can be grouped easily into different configuration, depending on the activity.

Gone will be the teachers’ desks at both schools. Those will be replaced with pedestals and mobile storage units. In addition, movable presentation carts will allow teachers and students to bring appropriate technology to the learning experience.

At Elmwood, classrooms will be ringed by soft seating as well as tables and chairs for use on collaborative work and projects. At Prairie, a collaboration space in the center of the pod will be furnished with stools and curved tables that fit together like puzzle pieces that are designed to enhance small group work and projects.

Madison Junior High was chosen for the junior high classroom prototype.

According to the plans, the teacher’s desk and the traditional student desks will come out of the room and be swapped out by mobile student chairs and desks that again work like puzzle pieces. Storage cabinets with wheels and writable surfaces will replace the current cabinetry that is attached to the walls, freeing up valuable learning space, district officials said.

Later this summer, the administration is expected to present a plan for redesigning high school classrooms that is expected not to exceed $50,000.

Because many upgrades were made at Naperville Central during the renovation a few years back, Naperville North will serve as the prototype test site.

Tags:

0 Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
Advertisement

Modal