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Create active learning environments for students and teachers to drive collaboration, focus and positive academic performance

Spotlight Classrooms

Watch video interviews about the difference standing can make, helping address physical and cognitive challenges experienced by students in what is often a sedentary environment: the classroom.

Rethinking Workspaces

Smart mounting, mobility and management solutions for the entire school. Move through the campus to see the selection of products best suited to different areas.

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Webinar: Why Teachers Use Standing Desks

Watch this on-demand webinar to hear firsthand two teachers’ experiences implementing mobile standing desks into their classrooms.

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How do you convince others that it’s time to bring classroom furniture into the 21st century? To help with these conversations and with grant writing, we’ve assembled the following resources. Learn how you can make healthier, more active classrooms a reality.


Databases

Get started with these popular FREE databases for finding educational grants. There are thousands of funding sources; just click to get guidelines or apply online.


Guides

Also, check out these major publishers’ web sites, especially the maps linking to state departments of education to find information about their available funds.

In a nutshell, there are many categories of grants: federal, state, corporate, foundation and alternative sources. Each one presents pros and cons, such as ease of applying versus poor chance of winning. Start your search simply and locally, and then widen it in expanding circles until you hit the jackpot.

For example: Check with school district administrators about existing budgets or unspent fund balances towards the end of the fiscal year. It may be possible to re-purpose funds or combine balances. Then look to local corporations, foundations and philanthropists for monetary or in-kind donations. That’s the low-hanging fruit. In the meantime, pursue federal and state Department of Education grants for large-scale projects. Be aware, however, that government grants are extremely competitive, the application process is daunting, and the lead time is lengthy. In addition, DonorsChoose.org and other alternative sources of funding for educators are worth a try: major corporations do grant wishes here!

Make sure there’s a good fit between the funder and your project. Develop a “scoreboard,” starting with:

  • How well do you meet the funding criteria?
  • What are the odds of getting financial support?
  • Is it enough to be worthwhile? (Small gifts can grow into big windfalls.)
  • Do you have the time and people to pursue this opportunity?
  • Does the grant and funder align with your mission and culture?

Start your search by accessing the Databases listed in Search tab and then go to the web site of each funder more information. Check out previous years’ competitions to see who won and why. Use that intel to draft the major sections of your application in advance. (You usually have only 4–6 weeks to apply after the opening and before the submission deadline.) Finally, check to see if a funder offers in-person or online orientations or other technical assistance to grantees. Many do.

For in-person assistance, contact a local librarian who’s familiar with grants and fundraising. Many large libraries have specialty areas, such as the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Grants Collections, that are invaluable.

It’s not too early to begin thinking about overall project goals, partnerships and the ultimate implementation.

Next steps include targeting grants and funders, calendaring out submission due dates and assembling committees to prepare strong proposals. Much of the work for preparing one proposal can be recycled for other proposals with some tweaks. Success breeds success, until the quest for funds becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

Pearson Education has an awesome instructional resource for you. For the same type of information, but in a simpler format, see Scholastic’s funding PDFs.

What works best in presenting an application to a local business or a federal grant is the same: a thoughtful plan for what you want to do and how you will use the grant.

Make your proposal detailed but focused on the interests and concerns of the grant-maker or community partner. A committee of educators and parents with differing strengths will ensure your proposal covers all the bases. Is your initiative creative, impactful or otherwise attractive to funders? Is your proposal accurate, with all the t’s crossed and the I’s dotted? Is your submission deliverable on-time and on-target?

Usually applicants will be informed whether they win or not, but you should take the initiative and follow up. Develop relationships with people at any of the funding sources you approach to help you refine your proposals and make them more desirable. In any case, always thank the grant-maker for considering your application. Also, conduct an in-house post-mortem with your team to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.

In addition to the scoreboard concept, apply the SMART goal setting methodology. Consider your specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely objectives: how well did you do? Is it worth going after those funds next year? Evaluating the success of your efforts is a good habit to develop now, as those reports are often expected by funders or donors after they make an award. They want proof that their support has made a positive impact!

To answer a grant’s “statement of purpose,” here are statements to help you position LearnFit Desks within the grant parameters. Use these statements as-is or edit them to meet your needs.


Kids Are Meant to Move

Sitting is learned behavior, passed down from us adults and previous generations. In the voice of one teacher, “My experience is that it’s a fundamentally unreasonable thing that we ask kids to do—to sit and pay attention for 6 hours a day from K through 12.”


Student Health

Today’s sedentary lifestyles are affecting our youth and their classroom performance. On average, children spend 65% of their waking day sitting in traditional student desks. Compound this with pressures to sacrifice physical education time for more classroom time for the core subjects.

This sedentary behavior is a significant contributor to chronic diseases—metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular, mental and childhood obesity. Studies show that introducing low-level physical activity into the classroom, such as standing, increases heart rate, burns more calories and increases insulin effectiveness. Studies and teacher testimonials show that this results in more on-task behavior, more engaged students, better classroom dynamics and improved academic outcomes.


Collaboration

With the overarching goal of collaboration and problem-solving, districts and schools are investing significant time, money and resources to develop and implement 1:1 learning environments. Chromebooks, iPads, Windows 8 tablets, network infrastructure, learning management systems, personalized learning tools and contemporary curriculum are all aimed at collaboration, but are being limited by the traditional non-mobile, sit-down student desk.

Classroom furniture must keep pace with technology, and be able to unleash the collaborative potential of the technology and the students.


In Class Physical Activity

Acknowledging that classroom instruction time increases as students advance, and that “brain breaks” are perceived as interruptions to valuable classroom time, LearnFit Student Desks are a means of introducing non-disruptive physical activity into the classroom. Additionally, being mobile and height-adjustable by the students enables a new level of intuitive collaboration.


Student Performance

The metabolic, psychosocial and musculoskeletal benefits of introducing mobile sit-stand desks into the classroom exhibit themselves as more engaged students with greater focus, a more efficient and naturally flowing classroom, and sustained academic performance by students.

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