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Pioneer tries out new classroom furniture

Students in Mrs. Bullinger's class try out the new desks and chairs.

Harrison He

Students in Mrs. Bullinger's class try out the new desks and chairs.

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Pioneer has installed new furniture in a couple of classrooms over the past few weeks as a pilot program to see if different kinds of furniture can help student achievement.

Ms. Bullinger’s room received furniture mostly produced by Steelcase. Ms. Azarovitz’s  room got furniture from VS America. The district is currently testing whether Steelcase or VS America should be its primary furniture supplier in the future.

The new furniture from both companies allows students and teachers to move around the classroom more freely, and also gives students more space to collaborate with others.

 Pioneer psychology teacher Bullinger believes that the new furniture has definitely helped promote student learning, especially in regard to expressiveness. “I watched students who had difficulty with energy become animated,” she said, because the new furniture encourages movement.

 “I [also] watched students who were a bit shy come out of their shell,” she added.

Both teachers piloting the new furniture, as well as their students, will complete surveys indicating which styles serve students best. Pioneer sophomore Keily Salazar Silvestre is disappointed in the furniture from VS America, which she experiences daily in her first hour algebra class. “We definitely shouldn’t have spent all that money on furniture,” Silvestre said.  “It [doesn’t look pretty], and it really doesn’t help me learn. I’d rather use the regular desks [that are in most of the other classes].”

Bullinger strongly considers the new furniture from Steelcase to be worth it. “Students are our first priority, so yes, I do feel that the [new furniture] is important, as it helps students maintain focus more effectively,” she said.  “Being able to move around and move while I’m sitting has helped me even as a teacher, and I’ve noted that my students who share this characteristic have been much more capable of maintaining enthusiasm.”

Bullinger also explained how the furniture suits students’ individual needs. “Because there are different types of furniture in the room, it also supports differentiation in what students need for their own learning style.”

Research also supports the claim of the furniture’s effectiveness. “We are currently investigating the expenditure, but so far [the district] has found that the furniture helps learning,” said Bullinger.

Nick Sterns and other students try out the new furniture.

Anthony Kersey and other students try out the new furniture.

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