South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Bayless ELL classroom wins $50K makeover


A Bayless School District teacher was the lucky winner of a classroom make-over this school year.

Tiffany Maloney, a sixth through 12th grade English language learner teacher in the Bayless School District, was the winner of a $50,000 classroom makeover sponsored by Office Essentials and HON Furniture. Maloney’s class won over 57 other entries statewide; the contest was open to public, private, charter and magnet schools.

“The classroom I was in this year was a good classroom, I just wanted it to be more inviting and feel more like a safe space for the specific students that we service in this classroom,” Maloney said to The Call on why she applied for the contest. “My boss had also seen it and when we got together to talk about it, we were like ‘This is a good opportunity, so let’s just try.’”

The application required a short, written entry as well as the opportunity to include photos and videos. Maloney did a mixture of the three with the help from a fellow teacher who teaches web design. The collaborative effort is part of why Maloney’s entry was selected, said HON Business Development Manager Maricruz Salgado.

“(Maloney) went above and beyond what we were asking for. We were just asking for some pictures, a brief description on a text box but she created a video with graphics and music backgrounds,” Salgado told The Call. “We later found out it was a school effort too … so it was kind of like one of those … HON wanted to give the community a surprise, a gift, and it was the community that delivered a submission.”

Maloney is very much a part of the Bayless community beyond just being a teacher; she herself is a Bayless High School graduate and has taught in the district for 19 years, nearly the entirety of her teaching career aside from a half semester with a different district.

She applied for the makeover in November and found out she was the winner in December in a surprise presentation in her classroom, after HON and Office Essentials collaborated with the BHS principal, Melanie Rouggly, for the surprise.

“I was completely overwhelmed … because I just don’t win … so I was just very surprised but also touched and honored that they chose me,” Maloney said.

Maloney was able to choose out of HON’s portfolio for the products she wanted and with the help of Office Essentials, was able to create renderings and plans for the new space. The company also handled the install and set-up, which was done over spring break in March so students could return to a “new” classroom.

The updated classroom gives Maloney the ability to move around seating for flexibility with lessons, and also includes a “soft corner” with couches and chairs where students can decompress while working on assignments.

“When we were all finished, I had my kids write thank you letters and one of them specifically … said something to the effect of ‘Thank you so much for giving us this makeover because so many kids like myself … come from a place where we have nothing,’” Maloney said. “So they were very thankful to have this opportunity to get the new things, to be a part of this process, so that was pretty touching.”

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