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Staples Initiative Lets Students Solve Real Life Problems with Innovative New Program

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A unique initiative created by Staples, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) gives students a chance to help create and design school products that solve real-life problems. Staples’ first Designed by Students program let students from two middle schools, MS88 in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Ga. participate in a curriculum to foster creative thinking and teach students about designing innovative products. The program provides an original, educational experience to students. Staples is donating $50,000 to both schools as part of the program.

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Sasha Barausky, left, Director of Product Management at Staples, presents Ailene Mitchell, Principal

Sasha Barausky, left, Director of Product Management at Staples, presents Ailene Mitchell, Principal at Middle School 88, with an award symbolizing a $50,000 product donation to create an innovation lab at MS 88, Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York, after the students participated in Staples’ first-ever “Designed by Students” program. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Staples/AP Images)

“Staples is empowering students to make more happen through research, collaboration and entrepreneurial thinking,” said Scott Young, senior vice president of product and business development, Staples. “The first Designed by Students program gave students the opportunity to learn and solve real-life problems. Students were able to see how their ideas and creativity transformed into innovative new products.”

Students from MS88 and Ron Clark Academy collaborated on sixteen different teams to develop a new line of innovative school supply products to bring to customers. Students at the schools defined the problem, researched products, collaborated to identify potential solutions, built prototypes and pitched a final design concept, all the while learning valuable skills and gaining confidence in their everyday life.

“The Designed by Students program provides amazing opportunities in which students identify problems and create products specifically designed for students by students,” said Ailene Mitchell, principal MS 88. “The partnership between Staples and Middle School 88 exemplifies a collaborative and engaging learning experience where students’ curiosity and understanding is realized through research and hands-on engineering experiences. By actively engaging our students in design learning we are saying that their ideas have immediate impact. Practical application of skills can solve real-world problems which is the very core of STEM education.”

“Our students’ collaboration with Staples has been one of the most innovative and engaging projects I have seen during my time in education,” said Ron Clark, co-founder of The Ron Clark Academy. “By listening to the opinions and needs of our youth, Staples has been able to create products that speak to the desires and tastes of the new generation; and therefore, as always, Staples is completely in tune with the demands of the market.”

The product pitches resulted in products focusing on the students’ insights that products need to be smart and easy, comfortable and portable… and have pops of color. The Staples Designed by Students Collection of products will be available at select Staples stores and on starting June 28.

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About Staples
Staples makes it easy to make more happen with more products and more ways to shop. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples lets customers shop however and whenever they want, whether it’s in-store, online or on mobile devices. Staples offers more products than ever, such as technology, facilities and break room supplies, furniture, safety supplies, medical supplies, and Copy and Print services. Staples also offers free shipping for Staples Rewards Members, in most cases overnight. Headquartered outside of Boston, Staples operates in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. More information about Staples (SPLS) is available at

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