Grant provides PE supplies, equipmentStudents in five area school districts are beginning to use physical education equipment recently provided to them through a $1.1 million federal grant to keep students active.
Students in five area school districts are beginning to use physical education equipment recently provided to them through a $1.1 million federal grant to keep students active.
“They absolutely love it, especially the little ones,” said Jodi Ryder, P.E. teacher for New England Public School. “They are really excited about all the new stuff. It’s really cool because it’s all colorful.”
The funding is being split between New England, Hebron, Glen Ullin, Richardton-Taylor and South Heart schools, said Amy Axtman, Roughrider Education Services Program director and grant director for the RU-Fit grant program.
The Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant will be paid out over three years and schools received $633,279 with this payment, she said.
“This first year we have a majority of our equipment coming because we want to start implementing things as soon as possible,” Axtman said.
Much of the equipment has been shipped to the schools, but some, such as aerobic machines, will be shipped over the next few years.
“We’ve slowly kind of been digging through the boxes and seeing what we have and we’re starting to try it out,” Ryder said.
Schools received and will be receiving everything from balls and jump ropes to strength training equipment such as weights, said Hebron Public School Superintendent Kevin Nelson.
“You name it and we got it, as far as phy-ed equipment,” Nelson said.
Along with the equipment, participating schools will be on a new curriculum, Axtman said.
“Our main focus for the grant was implementing the North Dakota state standards in physical education and improving the quality of physical education programs in our schools,” Axtman said. “That curriculum is research based. It aligns with national and state standards. It really is shown to improve the quality of physical education instruction, affect the overall fitness of students and increase academic achievement.”
Ryder is excited about the new curriculum.
“New England, beforehand, didn’t have a P.E. curriculum, so I kind of, just basically did what I wanted to do and so now I have some things to follow,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful because it gives us so many more options to do. We have binders full of games and the equipment to do it.”
Teachers began training for implementation of the curriculum Jan. 18, Axtman said.
Students and interested teachers will also be wearing pedometers to track their activity, she said.
“We’ll be taking several types of data from students to help track our success in the program and also for students to set personal goals for themselves, as far as their overall wellness,” Axtman said. “Another thing that we’ll be looking at is how many fruits and vegetables they’ve been eating and we’ll be asking students to keep a diary of the fruits and vegetables that they’re eating and set some goals for increasing their intake of healthy food.”
The benefits will extend past the three years the funding is distributed, she added.
“Many of the schools are interested in making their new weight rooms available to community members after the grant period,” Axtman said. “We’re sorry to say we can’t do that while the grant is going on, but after the three-year period we definitely can do that.”
Ryder hopes the grant and curriculum improve classes for students.
“I really hope that they enjoy P.E.,” she said. “I hope that they want to come to class and that they want to be active. Maybe they can take a look at what they need to do to improve themselves or to be more active.”