Come on in, sit right down

Sarah Nealon, staff writer

Students in Kari Burnside’s English classes are testing out brand new chairs and desks as part of a pilot program the district launched to determine if new furniture can meet the needs of classrooms today.

“The new furniture allows for adaptable kinds of seating arrangements, including the ability to quickly shift from one to the other, for example, lecture to teaming, to small group, to a large circle,” said Jenni Norlin-Weaver, the Director of Teaching and Learning for Edina Public Schools.

Elizabeth Barniskis and Joelle Reiling, also English teachers, share a classroom and are also part of this pilot.

There are two types of chairs. The first is a height-adjustable, leaning, blue swivel chair. The other is a black stool that spins and requires balance, as it has no back support.

“A student can be seated in one place but the chairs and stools allow for the physical movement many students crave,” explained Norlin-Weaver.

This is true for sophomore Molly McGurran. “They make it easier to concentrate. It’s like chewing gum. You can do something else while still learning,” she said.

Junior Ali Miller agrees. “They’re more comfortable and you can spin in them.”

“Right now, the chairs are decreasing concentration, but I think that once the novelty has worn off, they will help students focus,” said Ms. Burnside.

According to Norlin-Weaver, “If students and teachers find this furniture to better support the work of teaching and learning we may recommend that it be the standard that EHS uses as replacement furniture.”