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Burbank IKEA helps local teachers prep for school year

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Magdalena Sanchez, an Ikea employee, talks with teachers during an Art on Display workshop as part of a Teacher Appreciation Day at the Ikea store in Burbank on Wednesday.
(James Carbone/Burbank Leader)

The school year is around the corner and soon many teachers will be back on campus preparing their classrooms for their students.

To help make the transition back to work smoother and less stressful, the Ikea store in Burbank hosted its first Teacher Appreciation Day on Wednesday to offer workshops about different ways products sold by the Swedish retailer can be used in classrooms.

Mary Ann Barroso-Castanon, Ikea’s loyalty manager for the Burbank store, said the company held similar events at its East Coast locations last year, and they were well received.

Barroso-Castanon said Ikea is hosting similar events at its West Covina, Costa Mesa and Carson locations this month.

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“Being a part of our local community is important to us,” Barroso-Castanon said. “We really want to partner with all the schools here, and our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many.”

About 40 teachers from Burbank and surrounding communities took part in several workshops during the event.

There was a segment about the different ways Ikea’s utility carts can be used for mobile storage around classrooms, as well as a demonstration on the various ways artwork or other items can be hung.

Maria Kingsbury, a fifth-grade teacher at Michelle Obama Elementary in Panorama City, said she wanted to be better organized heading into the new school year.

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She was interested in learning more about Ikea’s DIGNITET curtain-wire system, which she plans to use around her class room to hang up her students’ artwork and assignments throughout the year.

“It’s important for me to be organized early and being flexible with the equipment that I have,” Kingsbury said. “I want my room to feel more like home instead of a classroom.”

Another attendee, sixth-grade math and science teacher Sandra DeSimone from Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, said her school doesn’t have the luxury of having ample storage space, so finding the right kinds of cabinets and storage units was important to her.

“Accessibility is key for me,” DeSimone said. “I like boxes and containers, so I don’t have to dig through things to get what I need.”

However, even after 20 years of teaching experience, DeSimone admitted that having an organized classroom isn’t one of her strong suits, and she appreciates any help she can get on that front.

“Some people are really good and it, but for me it’s really difficult,” she said. “My dad was a teacher, too, and he wasn’t great at organizing either. I’m starting to use boxes and containers, so I think I’m getting better.”

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