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By Andrew Cluley
Eight more schools across the Ann Arbor Public Schools will have a new classroom environment when students return from winter break. That’s thanks to new furniture purchased with funds raised from the voter approved 2015 Bond.
The Board of Education approved the $3.5 million purchase of furniture in phase two of the effort to provide new furniture to classrooms across the district in September. Bach Elementary received new furniture just before break, and then over break new furniture was placed in Angell, Burns Park, Dicken, Haisley, Lawton, Logan, Thurston, and Ann Arbor Open. Another 14 elementary and middle schools already received new furniture during 2017.
The new classroom furniture is more flexible than traditional school desks so teachers and students can easily reconfigure the classroom to work in small groups or other formations. Many of the items can be lifted and moved with just a finger or two. The ease of moving the furniture will also help custodial staff in cleaning rooms more thoroughly.
The chairs and stools are also designed to enable students to wiggle as well, which helps many students maintain focus on their education.
The purchases come after teachers, students, and community members had an opportunity to give feedback on test furniture that was placed in a handful of classrooms across the district during the 2016-17 school year. A similar process will begin in the coming months at the high school level. The school board has approved buying furniture from Steelcase and VS America to be placed in high school lighthouse classrooms this year.
Furniture no longer needed is being discarded according to district policy. Items that can be used elsewhere in the Ann Arbor Public Schools will go to a different building and other pieces that are in good condition will be sold. Finally furniture that can’t be sold is being donated.