Interactive Reading Intervention Tool Named Best New Product in Prestigious Ed Tech Awards Program

GREENVILLE, Wis., October 18, 2016 – School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB: SCOO) (“School Specialty,” “SSI” or “the Company”), today announced that iSPIRE™, an interactive reading intervention program for students in grades PreK-8, received the 2016 Tech & Learning Award of Excellence for the “Best New Product” of the year, as part of the magazine’s prestigious ed tech awards program.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our innovative ed tech reading resource, iSPIRE,” said Bodie Marx, senior vice president of sales and product development for School Specialty Curriculum. “This powerful learning resource has been incredibly well-received by educators, empowering them to provide robust and engaging instruction for struggling readers.”

A digital reading intervention program, iSPIRE incorporates phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency to accelerate literacy skill development for the lowest performing students in grades PreK-8. Published by EPS Literacy and Intervention, iSPIRE is powered by Exploros, a streamlined online teaching platform designed to connect teachers to students in a digitally transformed classroom, with the teacher at the center of mastery-based instruction. The dynamic structure of iSPIRE’s 10-Step Lesson Plan allows for digital, teacher-led instruction that enables districts to increase traditional reading intervention group sizes of two to four students to five to eight, resulting in a cost-effective solution for districts and making it more efficient for educators when working with struggling learners. Using a variety of digital manipulatives and drawing tools, iSPIRE builds engaging classroom experiences that promote phonological awareness and phonics-based skills. Students also participate in daily fiction and nonfiction reading activities, which help them master comprehension skills. Other interactive student activities reinforce vocabulary, comprehension and fluency and the embedded formative assessments ensure that students master key concepts to promote acceleration through the six levels of iSPIRE.

“Once again this year, the ‘Tech & Learning’ judges examined hundreds of entries to select those products that were deemed worthy of our 2016 Award of Excellence. This wasn’t just checking off spec sheets and surfing other people’s reviews. Each product was handled and scored individually. Not an easy task,” said Kevin Hogan, editorial director for NewBay Media’s Tech & Learning Group.

For more information about iSPIRE, visit

About Tech & Learning
For over 35 years, “Tech & Learning” has been – and continues to be – the leading resource for K-12 leaders. Its publications, websites and events provide factual and evaluative information on trends, products, and strategies to educators who purchase technology products in their districts and schools. “Tech & Learning” delivers the highest quality content and essential resources to manage, train, and teach technology. For more information, visit

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. Through its SSI Guardian subsidiary, the Company is also committed to school, healthcare and corporate workplace safety by offering the highest quality curriculum, training and safety and security products. Finally, through its SOAR Life Products brand, the Company offers thousands of products that sharpen cognitive skills and build physical and mental strength in fun and creative ways. From childhood through adulthood, they help individuals live life to the fullest – engaged, happy and well. SOAR Life Products is a customized offering for hospitals, long-term care, therapeutic facilities, home care, surgery centers, day care centers, physician offices, and clinics. For more information about School Specialty, visit

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Media Contact
Shaun Wiley
L. Wolfe Communications