“They help us stay awake,” Keegan McDannald said.
Lena Dunn Principal Brenda Butcher, when pitched the idea by Dills, thought it was a great idea.
“I am used to creative teachers who utilize many strategies to assist their students,” Butcher said. “They have utilized different items with students who have the need to move, such as koosh balls, fidgiballs, stretchy bands and sensory seat pads. As I thought of her request, I thought why not for all kids.
“Most students have the need to move. I would have enjoyed a ball chair as a kid myself.”
Dills said student performance shows the chairs are working.
“When I first started teaching them, I noticed a lot of putting their heads down on the desk and a lot of tipping their chairs and slouching,” Dills said. “It really kind of forces them to sit up straight.”
The teacher paid for the special, anti-burst chairs through a special education funding website called Donors Choose.org. The site matches donors with worthy projects in a community or school. Many schools, including Washington Schools have used the site to fund equipment that tightening school budgets can’t fund.
“When I wrote the grant, some people could write to me and there were some people I didn’t know,” Dills said. “A donor said ‘I want to give to this project because I was (the fidgety) kid in school.’”
Currently, there is one project at Griffith Elementary School that is using Donors Choose to fund a speech project. Butcher said the site has funded two grants at Lena Dunn recently, books for a small classroom library and the library received more books after its recent renovation. In fact, the benefactor for the Lena Dunn library renovation, Tom and Stacey Emmons, found out about the school’s needs through Donors Choose.