Be a Change Maker – Tools for Funding Sit-to-Stand Desks

In the struggle to improve the lives of students, teachers are on the front lines every day. They see how children fidget and squirm, fighting to stay focused instead of zoning out. Many teachers have realized the benefits of allowing children to stand while they work, even if it means adapting their classrooms in awkward ways.

Angela Conway, a teacher at the Meredith-Dunn School in Louisville, KY, tried to accommodate her students’ needs in creative ways. “We had students in the classroom that struggle to remain seated while working,” recalls Conway. “Students around the room were using bookshelves and other surfaces as "desks" when they needed to stand.”

 

When such a demonstrable need exists in the classroom, it makes sense to pursue a real, permanent solution. Although sit/stand desks require a significant investment, teachers can take action to bring parents, administration, and charitable organizations on board to help.

 

Individual parents:

Parents love to see teachers going the extra mile to help their kids. Let your room parents and others know about how sit/stand desks would serve their children’s needs. (This is especially true for children with diagnosed learning challenges, whose parents might request specialized equipment as part of an IEP.)

Parent organizations:

Parent groups often fund pilot programs that later become part of the general school curriculum. Develop a proposal to bring sit/stand desks to your classroom, and work with the PTO/PTA to arrange for any special fundraising.

Administration:

Build relationships with administrators responsible for purchasing. Is there any surplus left from the previous year’s budget? Is the school planning to replace existing classroom desks? Look for opportunities to introduce The Focus Desk as a better option for both students and teachers.

Grants and other resources:

There are thousands of potential grants and funding sources to help you improve your classroom. Here are some resources to help you start the search:

Donors Choose – Post your vision on this crowdsourcing site to attract support from donors. When donations reach the target you set, Donors Choose fulfills the order. The program supports K-12 classrooms, and public charter schools, in all 50 states across America.

Grants.gov – Visit this site to learn about the many federal grants available to teachers, with search functions available to find the best fit for your needs.

eSchool News online – This is an online monthly newspaper that contains an updated grants section. 

Grants Watch – A clearinghouse of federal, state, and local grants searchable by type.

Asking for money to fund a new approach can be daunting at first. The best strategy is to build a strong case through research and classroom observation. Follow grant instructions carefully and have the courage of your convictions. Angela Conway was able to achieve that goal with funding for three Marvel Focus Desks in her classroom.

“The Focus Desk provides versatility in the classroom, allowing students to take ownership of how they learn best throughout different times of the day,” explains Conway. “Students that need the ability to move while they learn can change their learning position quickly and quietly without distracting others. Student motivation has increased when they are able to take ownership of their most beneficial learning position.”        

 

Tags: IEP, standing desk, grant, learning challenges, PTO, PTA, sit-to-stand desk