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Case Study – Ursuline Academy

Ursuline Academy

Location:  Dedham, MA

Time Frame:  2024-2025

Suppliers Involved:  KI Furniture, Ghent, MooreCo, Global Furniture Group

Ursuline Academy, in Dedham, MA, was founded in 1946 by the Ursuline Sisters. The bucolic campus comprises several buildings, including the main academic building, built in 1965. A generous gift from the Class of 2023 served as inspiration for an ambitious project. With several classrooms in need of updating, Ursuline leadership embarked on a journey to “re-imagine” these spaces as modern, flexible learning places. Working with CPS and KI, Ursuline implemented the first set of classrooms in Fall 2023 – to the delight of students, teachers, and families.

In advance of this first phase, and wishing to gain insight from teachers and students, Ursuline asked CPS to create an online survey to help identify furniture and palette choices. CPS also introduced the KI Live and Learn Classroom, a traveling classroom concept, which allowed Ursuline to “test drive” KI furniture for 6 weeks. Based on these learnings, CPS, KI, and Ursuline together created enriching and contemporary classrooms featuring Ruckus tables and desks, Intellect Wave and Limelite chairs and stools, and Ruckus lecterns. Since this was a top-to-bottom refresh, CPS involved additional suppliers, including Ghent (whiteboards), Smith System (teacher desks), and Global Furniture (classroom storage) to complete the classroom furnishings. Installation was provided via Jez Enterprises. With five classrooms tackled in 2023, the next set is due to be delivered in June 2024.

Challenges:

  • Outdated Furniture: The existing furniture was outdated and did not support modern teaching methodologies or student collaboration.
  • Limited Flexibility: Fixed seating arrangements and bulky desks restricted flexibility and hindered collaborative activities.
  • Comfort Concerns: Uncomfortable seating adversely affected students’ focus and productivity during extended periods of learning.

Input and feedback from students and teachers

Live and Learn Furniture
Samples in place

The Live and Learn Classroom at Ursuline

To understand what types of furniture worked best in their environment, Ursuline chose to “test drive” KI products via the Live and Learn Classroom. This unique program (available in select markets) allows potential buyers to test, reconfigure, and try out many different furniture pieces and setups. Ursuline spent one month with the KI furniture setup in two classrooms in order to help their staff and students get a feel for what products and features they enjoyed.

Pre-Purchase Survey

As mentioned, Ursuline asked CPS to help build a comprehensive survey for students and staff. The goal was to solicit feedback on the types of furnishings and storage these user groups preferred in modern classrooms. User groups were asked to rank different types of Seating, Desking, Storage, and even Color Palettes. See the survey.

The finished Spaces

Revamped and Refreshed Learning Spaces

The classrooms at Ursuline were in need of better functionality and inclusivity. KI Intellect Wave Cantilever Chairs offer ergonomic support with their contoured seat and back design, promoting good posture and reducing fatigue during long periods of sitting. Their cantilever structure allows for easy movement and stacking, optimizing space efficiency in the classroom. Paired with the robust and versatile KI Ruckus Fixed Height Tables, this setup provides a stable and spacious workspace for various educational activities, accommodating both individual and group work. Together, these furniture pieces create an inviting and efficient learning environment that fosters student engagement and collaboration.

Endless Accommodations and Configurations

CPS and KI transformed another classroom with Intellect Wave Cantilever Chairs and a different style of desking. The KI ADA Height Desks were specifically designed to cater to students with disabilities, ensuring that all students had equal access to the learning environment. The adjustable height feature allowed for wheelchair accessibility, creating a more inclusive space where every student could actively participate in classroom activities. The ability to be able to reconfigure the seating arrangements in any classroom environment is crucial to the success and functionality of the room.

Another classroom was transformed into a modern and versatile learning space. The KI Ruckus Sit/Stand Height Adjustable Activity Tables provided students with the freedom to adjust their workspace according to their preferences, allowing them to switch between sitting and standing positions effortlessly. At the sitting level, Ursuline opted for the KI Limelight High Density Stack Chairs paired with the tables. The KI Limelight High-Density Stack Stools were added to be used with the raised Ruckus tables, and complemented them perfectly. Their lightweight yet sturdy design made them easy to move around, facilitating quick transitions between different group configurations. CPS also worked with KI to procure Ruckus Single-Post Adjustable Lecterns to add to the classrooms, providing teachers with a sound area to effectively manage their classrooms.

Results:

  • Enhanced Collaboration: The flexible furniture configurations facilitated collaboration among students, fostering teamwork and peer-to-peer learning.
  • Improved Comfort: Ergonomic seating options improved students’ comfort and posture, leading to better concentration and academic performance.
  • Increased Engagement: The dynamic learning environment created by the new furniture solutions enhanced student engagement and participation in classroom activities.
  • Versatility: The ability to easily reconfigure furniture layouts enabled teachers to adapt learning spaces to different instructional needs and teaching styles.
  • Modernized Spaces: The modern furniture design transformed classrooms into inviting and vibrant spaces conducive to 21st-century learning.

Additional Solutions from Long-Standing CPS Partners:

Global Furniture:

Bookcases

 

Ghent:

Whiteboards

 

Smith System:

Single Pedestal Teacher Desks

THE CPS VALUE PROPOSITION

CPS was happy to partner with Ursuline on their comprehensive modernization project. Through our strong supplier partnerships, we were able to leverage significant resources to help Ursuline thoughtfully survey their user groups, review our supplier base for best-fit products, and even test out furnishings in a live environment. Our goal is to offer choices for customers– across styles, features, and price points – providing pros and cons, features and benefits, so customers can make informed decisions for their institutions. CPS also offers low pricing, excellent customer service, and flexible payment terms. Our mission is simple: to save customers time and money.

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