Some Gahanna Lincoln High School students finding the benefits of Stand for Success, an initiative that provides desks where students stand to help them focus.

Some Gahanna Lincoln High School students finding the benefits of Stand for Success, an initiative that provides desks where students stand to help them focus.

Thanks to a $2,500 Grant of Excellence from the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation, 11 stand-up desks have been purchased for students in the Behavioral Support Services, a department within special education that assists students with behavioral needs.

Intervention specialist Jeremy VanMeter said the desks will be used as an alternative to traditional seated desks. They will help improve focus, attention and overall health.

Students can use the standing desks to complete homework assignments and receive one-on-one instruction.

GLHS Principal Bobby Dodd said the high school didn't have any stand-up desks before this purchase.

Recent studies have consistently shown that standing desks have numerous neurological and physiological benefits, according to the grant application.

VanMeter said the high school is in the implementation stage, with Behavioral Support Services providing intervention and instruction for about 30 students.

"As far as feedback, we first were asked by many teachers on our floor where they could get one to use in their classrooms, for their own use," he said. "They have also been very eager to partner with us in our research and allow students in their classrooms to use as needed."

What is nice about the particular desk model selected for the high school is the sway bar, VanMeter said.

"It allows students to move or rest their legs at the desk," he added. "Particularly for students who have ADHD, this seems to help them focus on their work. As a teacher, I like that we are able to work alongside our students on a project, versus having to be hunched over or hovering over shoulders of students seated."

VanMeter said the desks have made his classroom more versatile.

"According to some research, standing desks also provide students with more opportunities to burn calories during the day," he said. "We are not focusing so much on that aspect in our data collection as we are on the time on task, comparing a stand-up desk user to a traditional desk user. We are currently discussing within our planning and collaboration time developing instructions and a standard form to measure this."

VanMeter said students so far have said they are different from what they are used to, and they seem to enjoy working at the desks.

"As someone who likes a lot of physical activity, I prefer the standing desks," said one senior student, not named because of privacy concerns. "I am an artist. Artists who move around a lot would be more intrigued by these desks."

Originally, VanMeter said, his department thought they would only be able to purchase five stand-up desks.

"We ended up selecting a model that was more affordable," he said. "The model we selected still served our grant's mission, and we were able to purchase 11 total for students. Since we were able to purchase more than we originally expected, we partnered with four other general education teachers to pilot one desk each in their classrooms for any student to access during class. All of the classrooms, including our own, still offer traditional seated desks."

Building off the idea of environmental factors to enhance learning, VanMeter said, a mini-grant will be requested from the foundation this year to buy at least two balance-ball chairs for students who are seated at a traditional desk.

"We are hopeful that these will also be beneficial to students," he said.

The G-J Education Foundation Grants of Excellence provide funding for innovative and creative educational programs or projects that not only enrich curriculum but could also be incorporated into future curriculum plans with the district, according to Sharon Tomko, G-J Education Foundation president.