Education Fund Board grant applicants seek new classroom seating |

Education Fund Board grant applicants seek new classroom seating

Strawberry Park Elementary teacher Alexandra Bigras-Masse was awarded an Innovation Grant last year from the Education Fund Board's Grant Commission to purchase stability balls for her students to use as seating.
Matt Stensland

— A growing number of Steamboat Springs teachers are hoping to trade in their classroom chairs in favor of standing, bouncing, wiggling or even biking during class.

Three teachers have submitted applications to the Education Fund Board’s Grant Commission for Innovation Grants to pay for new seating this year.

The commission met Wednesday to hear from some of the applicants and raise questions about the 19 Innovation Grant applications it received for the year.

Other applicants are seeking funds for an outdoor classroom, STEM and science equipment, technology, a camera-equipped drone and a scholarship for a student traveling to Iceland.

The applications from local district employees total more than $135,000, yet the commission only has a budget of $25,000 to give out.

Steamboat Springs Middle School teacher Kathleen Huron is seeking $17,400 for the sixth grade to have stand up desks and a smaller number of stools to provide an alternative to regular classroom seating.

“Some of us struggle to stay awake in class, because there’s nothing for us to do but sit in a hard chair,” said Shane Lambert, one of four students who attended the meeting with Huron to express their desire for the new desks.

Another student said her ADHD made it difficult to focus when not moving.

“I really see the benefit of allowing students some movement in the classroom,” Huron said.

Another middle school teacher, Mindy Muliken, is seeking nearly $25,000 for a set of bicycle desks for students.

Soda Creek Technology Integration Specialist Kristi Lear is seeking $3,200 for a set of Hokki stools to allow movement while students are working in the computer lab.

“They’re proven to improve posture and core strength,” said Lear, who recently tried a stool herself.

“Being able to sit in the stools and get the slight movement they provide, it makes a world of difference,” Lear said.

Both Lear and Huron attended Wednesday’s meeting and, after hearing about the commission’s high ratio of requests to funds available, said they would be grateful to receive smaller amounts to purchase some seating rather than full class sets.

Other grants presented to the commission, such as $5,000 to cover the cost of one student attending a global summit on sustainability in Iceland, may be more difficult for the commission to trim, and it’s likely the group will have no choice but to deny some grants entirely.

Member Dean Massey said he’d like to see the commission whittle down the grant applications to identify the proposals that best match the Innovation Grant’s original criteria of classroom innovation.

The commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16, at the Steamboat Springs School District boardroom to determine grant awards.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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