Putting Students and Teachers First
When Grand Blanc Community School District decided it was time to update classrooms and libraries across the district, they turned to long-time partner NBS. NBS provided furnishings, finishes and space planning for over 120 classrooms and 9 libraries across nine elementary buildings, with two middle and two high school buildings being done next year. The result is a vibrant and flexible learning environment, with each space tailored to the unique needs of the students and teachers who will use it.
NBS worked directly with Doris Goetz, a retired elementary school principal during the design process to uncover the needs of teachers and develop best practices that would shape the future of education in the district. Workshops were conducted with teachers in the grade bands of kindergarten, 1st-2nd grade, and 3rd-5th grade to understand how they teach and what students are learning. The answers were used to drive furniture selection and develop a prototype classroom for each grade band. Flexible furnishings give teachers a modular “toolbox” of pieces they can use to tailor their classrooms to their teaching styles or the needs of the day.
Each elementary library has a unique theme chosen with input by librarians and students, resulting in spaces that are whimsical, comfortable and inviting. In one school, dog bone-shaped ottomans and house-shaped seating areas fulfill the “backyard” theme chosen by kindergarteners. One library was designed to be centered around books and cozy reading spaces, while another is designed with study, collaboration and technology in mind. Soft seating, comfortable study carrels, and large tables support both individual and group learning activities.
District leaders appreciated having a partner to help them design and execute a cohesive vision across all of their schools. NBS acted as a single point of contact to streamline communication and planning, ensuring a smooth rollout and consistent implementation across all buildings. Doris shares, “It was a great pleasure to work with the designers at NBS over the past two years as we implemented our GBCS district wide furniture project. All along the way they have been attuned to the unique developmental and learning needs of K-5 students and teachers.”
Teachers and librarians appreciated the opportunity to provide input and the responsiveness of NBS’s designers in meeting their needs. “Teacher input was essential along the way, which NBS actively invited. We dreamed big, and though adjustments had to be made to fit budgets, they were able to recommend great solutions to give our teachers and students learning spaces that are flexible, responsive to a variety of needs, and beautiful! Our kids and teachers deserve beautiful, comfortable learning spaces, and they now have that!” Doris says.
The modular toolkit of furnishing elements allows learning spaces to be tailored for individual needs and be reconfigured over time. This flexibility is a great fit for a school district whose mission includes an emphasis on individual autonomy, self-direction and helping students “actualize their own unique genius.”
Learn more about Grand Blanc Community School District: https://www.gbcs.org/