Are Standing Desks Coming To A School Near You?

Jan 1, 2016

Standing desks configured in clusters at Providence's West Broadway Middle School.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

A pair of Providence schools are testing out standing desks, a growing trend in workplaces across the country.

West Broadway Middle School has about 30 of the desks, which were donated by the manufacturer, Ergotron. Math teacher Emily Mowry says she likes the way they move easily and quietly around the classroom, and students have quickly gotten used to them. 

"I would say it has a positive impact on most kids, and you’ll see some kids who may have been fidgety before, get that nervous energy out just with the standing," Mowry said.

Mowry finds her 7th graders remain more alert when standing, instead of slouching in their seats. She has stools for students who prefer to sit, and the desk height can be adjusted. 

"Sometimes you’ll get the kids who put the desk down, and then it goes up, and they do it two or three times," said Mowry. "And I say, okay now, and then they just stop. I wouldn’t say they’re a distraction."

A study of elementary school students in Texas found that students using standing desks burned more calories and were less sedentary than students in traditional sitting desks.

360 High School in Providence is also using about 30 of the standing desks. 

Outside of Providence, school officials in Newport and Warwick said they have yet to try standing desks. Cranston Superintendent Jeanine Nota says she has been reading about them and she’s interested.