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Burbank schools ditch traditional classrooms

School District 111 in Burbank has decided to swap its

traditional classroom desks and furniture for flexible seating and furniture

for its students from kindergarten to fifth grade.

Gone are the traditional desks and tables in favor of kid-friendly seats

and tables from Lakeshore Learning with names such as Wobble chairs, Balance

Ball seats, Comfy Floor seats and Beanbag chairs.

All kindergarten to fifth-grade schools in the district will eventually

make the switch, but the first ones to adopt the new flexible seating were Rosa

G. Maddock School and Edward J. Tobin School.

The idea is to give the students a comfortable classroom and allow

teachers the ability to quickly rearrange a room as needed.

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Our mission has always been to provide a

quality education to ensure students reach their full potential as life-long

learners,” said Tobin Principal Kristin Welsh.Ê”We’re so excited to

see the students’ enthusiasm over the new seating options and our teachers have

reported improvements in overall attention spans and increased engagement.

“Mrs. Basile’s fourth-grade classroomÊsaid their favorite new seating

option is theÊwobble chairs. A lot of the kids have commented

how the wobble chairs actually help them focus.”

“We did this with a focus on the students,” said Dr. Shwkar

Abousweilem,Êprincipal at Rosa G. Maddock School. “We wanted to allow them

to have seating choices.”Ê

The first classrooms to make the switch cleaned out the old desks and

brought in the new flexible seats at the end of February.Ê

“We wanted the installation to be exciting for the students and the whole

school,” said Welsh. “We televised the switchover to the whole building on TV.”Ê

The new format is designed to give the students a choice by allowing them

to pick the seats that will work best for them; to keep the students more

motivated and engaged; and to increase the students’ attention span by allowing

them to be comfortable.Ê

Welsh and Abousweilem said the school board and Supt. Dr. Franzy Fleck

were solidly behind the switch to flexible seating.Ê

“Without his support, we would not have been able to implement this,” said

Welsh.Ê

Educators also said the students have been quick to embrace the new

format.Ê

“The low tables are the most popular,” said Welsh.Ê

“They love them,” said Abousweilem. “The students all gravitated to what

they thought would work for them.”Ê

“Students take ownership of their learning,” said Welsh. “The flex seating

keeps them engaged.”Ê

“This is absolutely the way of the future,” said Welsh.Ê

The old desks and furniture has been donated to schools in Chicago that

still want to use the traditional classroom format.

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