NBC 5 Helps Teachers Get Classrooms Ready

The right supplies can get a kid's new school year off to a good start.

And, it's the same for teachers.

That's the mission of NBC 5's Supporting Our Schools campaign. We partnered with the teacher-founded Donors Choose to get teachers in North Texas ready for the near year.

"It's so exciting when you get that email that your project has been funded," said Hope Gonzalez, a kindergarten teacher at Club Hill Elementary School in the Garland Independent School District.

She and her colleagues, Angie Goss and JoAnna Ramey, all used the nonprofit website to fund the flexible seating they're now using in their classrooms.

Stability balls, rocking chairs, portable lap desks and wiggle cushions and other items all arrived before the start of the new school year. The teachers believe giving their students a choice of where to sit will pay off.

"This is my seventh year in kinder, and I've seen it. Sometimes desk and chairs and tables are not what is best for the kids," Goss said.

"Especially 5 year olds, it's very hard for them to sit in a chair all day and do an activity," Gonzalez agreed.

"It's uncomfortable for them especially for those who come in and are really tiny, their legs don't even reach the floor," Ramey added.

"Some children need to stand up and do their work. So, how can we do this to meet their needs? Flexible seating is just an option," Gonzalez said.

Flexible seating is gaining popularity, but it's above and beyond most school budgets. In this case, the teachers said Donors Choose was the perfect option. Each teacher explained the project, and together they asked for about $2,000 to find their project.

"They gave out of the goodness of their hearts, and it's amazing," Ramey smiled.

"It does validate what we're doing and our profession to give us things we need," Goss said.

And, getting teachers what they need sets kids up for success.

Gonzalez explained how sitting on a stability ball will help fidgety 5 year olds stay focused.

"It can get their heart rate going which increases metabolism; blood flow going to the brain which increases focus and more engagement in their activity."

Ramey believes the seating options will motivate her class of 5 and 6 year olds.

"They don't get a lot of choice. They're told when to go to get up, when to go to bed, what to wear, all these rules, and they really do better when they have this independence, a say in what to do," Ramey said. "Like I want to behave well and make good choice, so I can sit in this seat or the wobble stool."

And, in those choices comes lessons.

"The goal is for them to figure out what's best for them, and they're going to be learning that because I'm going to give them that chance to try everything out," Goss said.

The kindergartner teachers who call themselves "the dream team" could now have their dream classrooms.

The NBC 5 Supporting Our Schools campaign runs through the end of August.

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