Virco Classroom Makeover Upgrades Facilities for Reading Program

TORRANCE, Calif., March 30, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Reading is perhaps the most fundamental skill any student can acquire. Unfortunately, some classrooms devoted to helping kids read have old, worn out furniture that can actually inhibit the learning process. That's why Virco(r) (AMEX:VIR) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) collaborated to dramatically upgrade the furniture of a reading classroom at Oak-Land Jr. High in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

This important donation came about through the Classroom Makeover Competition jointly launched in 2005 by Virco and NASSP. After evaluating numerous applications, three schools were chosen to receive a comprehensive furniture makeover for one classroom.

Jacqueline Miller, who teaches intensive reading strategies at Oak-Land Jr. High, indicated that the furniture in her room required constant maintenance. "Things got so bad that I kept a tool kit in my desk," she remarked.

In fact, Miller, observed that the furniture in her classroom prior to the makeover was more than 20 years old, dating at least from the time she herself attended the school as a student in the 1980s. And as one might expect, this older furniture wasn't well suited to complement contemporary teaching styles that emphasize collaborative learning.

By contrast, the Classroom Makeover has provided many positive benefits. Easily movable chairs and tables with large work surfaces are ideal for collaborative learning activities; moreover, Miller's students really like the up-to-date design of the new Virco products in their room.

"From the first day we received new furniture, I noticed improved student attitudes and behavior," Miller affirmed. "There was much more respect for the classroom."

Oak-Land Jr. High's makeover features Virco's best-selling, ergonomically contoured ZUMA(r) 4-leg chairs, which combine a flexible backrest, a wide concave seat and a waterfall front for long-lasting comfort with a convenient handle in the upper backrest for easy mobility. The chairs are grouped around spacious Plateau(r) Series tables with a 30" x 60" top that lets four students share a common work surface for collaborative learning activities.

Other makeover products include two of Virco's 84" trapezoid computer tables equipped with optional wire management trays. These tables have been ganged to provide space for six computer workstations; both tables have an attached elevated shelf that can accommodate a printer. There's also a new overhead projector and wall-mounted screen, a new lockable mobile cabinet that's ideal for storing computer software and other valuable items, and a new teacher's desk paired with a supportive Ph.D.(r) Executive Series task chair.

"It's great to have new furniture that supports our educational goals," said Miller. "Each of our students has a laptop, and with the layout of our tables and chairs, they can easily use their laptops and a textbook at the same time."

"The furniture also provides seating for all of our students while actually freeing up more floor space in the room," she continued. "And when you consider that I got a new desk, a comfortable new task chair, and a large mobile storage cabinet, I can't help feeling like I hit the jackpot!"

Other 2005 Virco/NASSP Classroom Makeover Competition winners are Elmer L. Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and Gateway Regional School District, a combined intermediate/high school campus in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. On a related note, Virco is also sponsoring a Classroom Makeover Competition in partnership with NAESP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Winners of the Virco/NAESP Classroom Makeover Competition will be announced shortly.

After opening for business in 1950 with just one customer, Virco has grown to become the country's leading furniture manufacturer for the K-12 market. Virco products include the visionary ZUMA(r) collection, honored with a prestigious Best of NeoCon(r) 2004 Editors' Choice Award. In addition, Virco's industry-leading resource recovery and recycling achievements have been repeatedly recognized by local, state and national organizations. The company's most important honor was announced in 2003, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency designated Virco as a charter member of its WasteWise Hall of Fame. For more on Virco, visit .

The National Association of Secondary School Principals -- the preeminent organization and the national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals and aspiring school leaders -- provides its members with the professional resources to serve as visionary leaders. For more information on NASSP, visit

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals serves 29,500 K-8 principals in the United States, Canada, and overseas. See for details.

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