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School Specialty Partners With Hazleton, PA School District to Build New and Innovative Academy of Sciences

Hazleton learning space
School Specialty, Inc.

GREENVILLE, Wis., June 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB:SCOO) ("School Specialty" or "the Company"), a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace, today announced the successful completion of the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences in Drums, PA, which will serve as the epicenter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and 21st Century Learning for students in the district.

Hazleton learning space


A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=25831

Designed with the future of education in mind, School Specialty's Projects by Design (PBD) team worked closely with the Hazleton School District to build a leadership academy that would foster the growth and success of students, both today and tomorrow – a cutting-edge facility that could provide an advanced 21st century educational setting for STEM learning. Along with the complete redesign, the Hazleton School District called upon PBD to provide comprehensive furniture and equipment solutions, and in response, the team utilized School Specialty's vast inventory of products for the Academy's innovative makeup.

"We chose to partner with PBD and School Specialty as a result of our past, positive experiences with the team. They have always gone above and beyond to accommodate our needs with affordable, high-quality educational products and services," stated Francis Antonelli, Superintendent of the Hazleton School District. "It was very important that we had a shared-vision in the design process to ensure that the needs of our teachers and students would be met."

Jamie Kline, Account Manager at School Specialty, commented on the project, "21st Century Learning is an initiative that seeks to better prepare our students nationwide for success in college and the workforce. The initiative focuses on collaborative, project-based learning, with science education and technology scholarship being significant elements; PBD looked to design and outfit the Hazleton Academy from the ground up to fulfill these goals."

Unique to the Academy's design is an open floor plan that facilitates student collaboration and features wide hallways, flexible classrooms and meeting spaces for group projects. This structure allows students to function and learn in a relaxed environment, with spaces that are adaptable for individual, teacher-directed and team-oriented projects. Additionally, the Academy is equipped with a wide array of flexible, mobile furniture, including desks, tables and chairs that can be configured in various ways – promoting learning environments that change to fit the individual needs of teachers and students. Modern, soft seating areas provide comfortable spaces for students to complete group projects, and include technology integration so that students can use their PCs, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.

Tom Casperite, a 35-year F&E Coordinator from School Specialty, added, "PBD's furniture and equipment offerings ensure the utilization of unique settings for everyday learning. We outfitted the Academy specifically to encourage an environment where our children can exercise their inventiveness, a key component of 21st Century Learning that prepares them to be innovative and successful leaders in their fields and in life as a whole."

"The PBD services and School Specialty furnishings contribute to an atmosphere of collegiality, respect and trust. I believe that the new design and layout of the rooms and spaces at Hazleton Area Academy not only promote an atmosphere of independence and personal creativity but also teamwork," continued Antonelli.

Since officially opening its doors at the start of the 2013-2014 school year, the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences is already seeing resounding success, in terms of response. Faculty, staff, students and parents have expressed their full satisfaction with the school's fresh and pioneering approach to learning. The waiting list for both students and teachers to join the Academy is extensive, as word has spread that it offers a more fulfilling learning experience than traditional schools.

"I have always been pushing for our school and district to be a leader in STEM education but recognized that we needed a certain kind of learning environment and tools to achieve this. Our students have a lot of freedom to express themselves because the new building is so open; inviting them to work smarter and together more than ever before," explained Daniella Zola, Hazleton Area Academy Principal. "The new facility is designed to optimize space and light, and we have modern furniture and equipment that leverage the benefits of technology. The atmosphere is stimulating and comfortable."

School Specialty's Kline concluded, "We are extremely pleased that the new facility has been met with such widespread praise. In addition to providing products and services, we seek to drive innovation in our children's education and prepare them for a global workforce that has become increasingly competitive. We are very excited that this philosophy is working so well at the Hazleton Academy and look forward to the school's continued growth and success."

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. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

CONTACT: Company Contact: Andrea Johnson Director of Marketing, Furniture & Equipment School Specialty, Inc. Phone: 920-882-5659 / 920-740-2361 Email: andrea.johnson@schoolspecialty.com Media Relations Contacts: Jay Morakis and Oliver Marsh GW Communications for School Specialty, Inc. Phone: 212-266-0191 / 212-266-0227 Email: jmorakis@GWCco.com / omarsh@GWCco.com

Source:School Specialty, Inc.