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Bringing 21st Century Furniture into the Classroom


The Challenge:

Breaking a tradition is never easy. The first of the Stratford Schools opened in 1999, and for close to 15 years after that, every subsequent classroom was designed to look the same - so no matter which school you walked into, it looked familiar. This provided an important school identity and sense of place. But the group stays on top of trends and innovations, and embraces 21st century education - which includes contemporary furniture. This need for change lends itself perfectly to a partnership with School Outfitters, who prides itself on providing furniture that meets the demands of today's education.

"I literally could not do my job without School Outfitters. It's a phenomenal company, the customer service is superior, and I felt like [my reps] were with me every step of the way."

- Pat Dorsey, Purchasing Manager, Stratford School

Our Approach:

Stratford Schools began a relationship with School Outfitters in 2013, when an abrupt parting with a different vendor put them in a bind. With the direction of Pat Dorsey, Stratford's Purchasing Manager, the company was able to quickly furnish 18 classrooms across 17 campuses in just two weeks. Since then, Stratford and School Outfitters have enjoyed a fruitful partnership, working together to provide students and teachers with furniture that works for them.

Our approach to 21st century learning is to provide mobile, collaborative furniture that's flexible and adaptable. We believe this facilitates virtually any type of learning and teaching style.

When Stratford began incorporating 21st century furniture, students found themselves going from old brown and chrome traditional book-box desks to new sleek furniture accented with maple. Every grade has different colored chairs to set them apart - and with bulk order savings, even the teachers were able to get new furniture: contemporary desks for the front of the room. For collaboration in the classroom, Stratford chose the Learniture Hex Desk, which the students use in groups of two, three, five, or any number they need. And every classroom from second grade and up has casters on desks and chairs for easily moving in and out of groups.

The Impact:

Perhaps the biggest indicator of success is that there is nothing Stratford would have done differently - from the furniture choices to the ordering and installation. "To make it through and do four schools, and have it done beautifully - it was seamless. And I don't think there's anything we would change," said Dorsey. Not only was everything delivered in time for the schools' first days, the students and teachers love their new furniture.

"They love it for art projects, for science projects, for any kind of collaborative work they're doing in the classroom, they love it," said Dorsey. School Outfitters loves being a part of success stories like Stratford's, and values these partnerships - and we're happy our partners see it the same way; as Dorsey said, "I literally could not do my job without School Outfitters. It's a phenomenal company, the customer service is superior, and I felt like [my reps] were with me every step of the way."

Stratford School

  • Northern and Southern California
  • Pre-K - Eighth Grade
  • Private School
  • 15 Campuses

Project Goals

  • Furnish four schools, under tight timing, before first day of class
  • Ensure consistency of furnishings across all campuses
  • Choose furniture that is modern, mobile and encourages collaboration
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