Thanks to the support of a generous donor, the Learning Skills facilities, a part of Grier's multi-faceted Academic Support program, recently received an update designed to increase student motivation and academic performance.
One aspect of the update included a cosmetic change to the entire Learning Skills suite. The classrooms received new carpeting and a fresh coat of calming light green paint on the walls. The addition of laminated surfaces both increased the attractiveness and expanded the functional capacity of the window ledge, where Learning Skills teachers store and display resources for their students. Durable and smooth glass whiteboards in the classrooms allow teachers and students to work through problems with ease. To add a finishing touch, Grier ceramics teacher and artist, Mrs. Heidi Zimbler, created decorative custom ceramic plaques for the suite and for each of classrooms.
Furnishings were the other major component of the update and our teachers strived to make research-based selections with student performance in mind. Studies frequently confirm the link between the body and the mind; a notion that Grier embraces wholeheartedly as evidenced by our motto Sana Mens In Corpore Sano. Research indicates that physically active students are more likely to perform better academically and that cognitive performance, classroom behavior, and concentration improve when students have the opportunity to engage in movement periodically throughout the day. These findings have been reflected in professional office spaces as well, with more employers offering sit-stand desks and other opportunities for employees to engage in physical movement throughout the workday.
With the connection between the physical and the mental in mind, Grier's Learning Skills now offers a variety of workstations for students. Mrs. Shelly Davis, who works with Grier's youngest students, has embraced many of the innovative furnishings in her classroom. There, students can sit upon yoga-ball style stability chairs or choose a more traditional office chair that can be adjusted to just the right size. Students can opt for a standing workstation with the Wurf board anti-fatigue mat beneath. An especially active student might find she can focus better while pedaling away at the bike-like pedal desk.
Students who prefer more traditional seating can benefit from manipulatives like wooden tangle toys, fidget cubes, and squeezable memory foam objects designed to increase focus and facilitate concentration.
Following the remodel and arrival of the innovative workstations, Mrs. Davis has observed in her students increased motivation and an ability to stay focused on their academic tasks. Along with Mrs. Greta McCracken and Department Head Mrs. Jeanie Gerber, she is grateful for the update to the Learning Skills Suite. The changes are empowering Grier students enrolled in the Learning Skills program to thrive.