New Berlin Special Ed Classroom Getting Makeover with National KI Furniture Contest Win

By Benjamin Cox on April 26, 2023 at 12:01pm

A rendering of Mrs. Llewellyn's design of the new classroom. (Photo provided)

A New Berlin High School classroom will have a new look thanks to winning a national classroom furniture giveaway.

New Berlin High School Principal Hattie Llewellyn was announced as one of three winners in the national classroom furniture giveaway from furniture maker KI last week.

Llewellyn was selected from nearly 500 entries and won out in a poll of nine finalists, where nearly 20,000 votes narrowed down the winners.

In the entry to the contest, Llewellyn explained some of the current challenges the special education classroom at the high school faces each day: “Our goal for our program is to prepare students for independent functioning with life and academic skills that are necessary to support life beyond high school. Our program consists of 1 classroom teacher, 5 paraprofessionals, and 8 students with varying physical and cognitive abilities – two of which are in a wheelchair. Our current classroom space is 496-square feet. There is very little room to move around in the classroom and there are several people in that small space.”

The New Berlin special education program is structured on specialized life skills that allow students to remain in the program up to age 22. Llewellyn says that the new classroom design and furniture will create new and better opportunities for all the students: “The functional work spaces that accommodate a variety of skills and abilities are some of the things that we are most looking forward to with our new design. The new design would have 743.3-square feet of space. The classroom design also provides a thoughtful learning environment with seating and spaces that support diverse cognitive and physical abilities. This will greatly benefit our students. Due to the age and stay of the students, the new classroom design will allow the space to be separated into two instructional areas in the future. We envision a classroom that includes flexible spaces that provides students with equitable opportunities to engage in small group activities, life skills training, and one-on-one, individualized instruction.”

Llewellyn was awarded $40,000 worth of furniture to bring this vision to life. The new furniture is expected to be installed tomorrow with an official unveiling to students on Friday.