The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

School Specialty Expands Into New Markets With the Launch of SSI GUARDIAN, A New Curriculum-Based Security & Preparedness Solution for Education and Health Care

GREENVILLE, Wis., (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- School Specialty, Inc., a leading distributor of supplies, furniture and both supplemental and curriculum products to the education marketplace, today announced the launch of SSI GUARDIAN, a new curriculum-based security initiative designed to keep schools, and our children safe. Taught by subject-matter experts affiliated with U.S. Military Special Operation Forces, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Secret Service, Federal Law Enforcement and Education, SSI GUARDIAN provides schools, school districts and those responsible for the safety of children, with current, credible and PhD-authored content that will better prepare them to deal with crisis scenarios.

SSI GUARDIAN brings forth a sustainable solution that incorporates training, consulting services, consumable products and technology. The Company has developed new curriculum based on industry best practices and field experience from leading subject-matter experts, and sourced in accordance with academic standards.  SSI GUARDIAN curriculum is focused on strengthening campus and school safety by providing administrators with the professional development tools to address safety and risk mitigation. SSI GUARDIAN will also offer consulting services, helping schools and school districts to conduct vulnerability assessments for school sites, emergency planning, contingency planning, and safe school design.  Similar curriculum/training modules have also been developed for health care facilities including hospitals, outpatient care centers and rehab centers. 

Joseph M. Yorio, School Specialty's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Now, more than ever, school safety and security have become critical elements of our educational system and are commanding national attention given the tragic events in recent years. With our reach into schools, our curriculum offerings and security industry relationships, we saw this as a natural extension and a chance to do something unique in the market. I've spent a large portion of my adult life serving in the military, defense, intelligence and security related fields and I cannot stress enough, the importance of planning, awareness and preparedness. It has saved mine and others' lives and now, we have an opportunity to do the same for our children – to help keep them safe!"

Awareness, Preparedness and Preservation
From the onset, SSI GUARDIAN will consist of four curriculum-training programs, the first being the Active Shooter Safe School and the second, School Bus Driver Threat Awareness. Active Shooter for Higher Learning and health care will round out the Company's initial curriculum offering, which is expected to grow to over twenty independent courses. With SSI GUARDIAN training, school officials and staff will be provided with materials, insights and real-life experience scenarios to better prepare all staff responsible for our children -- whether it's to deal with an active shooter situation, a violent event on a school bus, or just having the essential tools to raise awareness of behaviors and surrounding environments. Training will initially be offered onsite to school administrators, principals/asst. principals, teachers, and staff, as well as via webinars and e-Learning forums. SSI GUARDIAN intends to provide additional curriculum offerings throughout the year, on security preparedness issues beyond Active Shooting, while also expanding its 100,000+ product assortment, with the inclusion of Security and Safety products and new Technology Solutions.

 For more information on SSI GUARDIAN's cadre of instructors, please visit us on the web at www.guardianprotect.com/our-team/.

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