Standing Desks Bring “Positive Momentum” To Second Graders


One classroom in Highland Elementary School is helping students improve academic performance, physical health and engagement with one simple change: standing desks.  The desks were implemented in late 2018, and fifteen of them occupy Rachel Mitchell’s second grade classroom for all her students.  Positive Momentum, LLC donated around $2,500 for the standing/active desks and accompanying stools with net proceeds from their educational “Taking Charge of Your Health” Seminar Series, and additional money was raised through GoFundMe donations.

The desks come complete with a storage box and shelf.  They are adjustable but usually remain in a high position for students to stand as they like or to sit or lean against the stool.  Students Braiden Moats and Eleanor Lambert say their desks have helped them focus better.  For instance, if they need to take a stretch break, they can do so without leaving their desk area.

Braiden says, “It’s pretty awesome that we can have these donated desks, and I really like the fidget bar on the bottom of it ‘cause a lot of us use it, and I think they’re really cool!”

Eleanor adds, “I also like the fidget bar and how you can stand up at the desk.”

So, what is this additional benefit known as a fidget bar?  Braiden explains, “It’s this bar on the bottom of the desk, and you can move your stool, and then you can put your foot on it, and then you can rock on the fidget bar, your foot on the fidget bar.”

The students are not the only ones who are happy with the standing desks.  Second grade teacher Ms. Mitchell says, “I think that it’s been really great to just have that flexibility for them to stand up, to use their stools in different ways.  The fidget bar like my students have talked about, they love the fidget bar.  They use it all day long, so, and that’s just really important, that they have that opportunity to move throughout the whole day rather than just sitting still eight hours a day working.”

“Whenever I see them starting to start to talk more or I’m seeing them not wanting to work, if someone’s layin’ their head down, I’m like, ‘Alright. You need to stand up.  You need to put that in your mind that whenever you’re feeling tired or you’re feeling wiggly, just go ahead and stand up,’ so I’m still working on getting them to be able to realize that on their own.  I have a handful that just like to stand, and they’ll stand on their own anyways, but it’s still, like, in their brains that, ‘Oh, I’m here at school.  This is my desk.  I’m gonna sit,’ so those that do take that time to stand up, I do notice that they do better.  They calm down a little bit more, so that’s nice.”

Ms. Mitchell feels the desks should expand to other areas of the school in addition to her classroom.  She says, “My students have said, ‘Next year, we won’t have these desks, so they’re upset about that.  My third graders that I had last year, they’re mad because they didn’t get the desks, so I think there’s interest within some of the other teachers in the Elementary.  I know there’s some high school teachers that have a few standup desks, so hopefully, there will be more of this in the future.”

Positive Momentum would like to see the entire school have the standing desks in the future.  Their next seminar event will be their tenth one, an “Embracing Community Health Day” with special guest Dr. Mark Cucuzzella on May 23, 2019.  We’ll have more on that in Part 2.

Highland Elementary School Second Grade Teacher Rachel Mitchell and student Aletheia Robertson pose with the classroom’s standing/active desks.  Photos courtesy Positive Momentum, LLC and Chris Swecker.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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