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Schools get $1.4 million grant for student fitness

The Rowan-Salisbury School System has received a $1.4 million federal grant from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program.
The grant will provide funding for teacher training equipment and personal health awareness for students over the next three years to help improve student fitness and awareness about their health needs and risks.
“This is exciting news for our school system,” said Dr. Jim Emerson, chairman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education. “I am proud of our superintendent, Dr. Judy Grissom, and her staff for continuing to aggressively find funds to raise the level of education in our district. We are doing exactly what we need to be doing.”
Dr. Rebecca Smith, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and author of the grant, said the district’s goal “is to sustain the model of personal health and fitness awareness even beyond the initial grant-funded years.”
The school system’s model, titled “iPHONE” (Increasing Physical Health Opportunities by Nutrition and Exercise), will create changes in the existing physical education and health programs through a focused intervention that coordinates several physical education research-based programs. iPHONE’s three projects are:
– “SNAP Shot” (Student Nutrition and Activity Program) ó This project will create a new “focus” on the first six years (K-5) of physical education. Research-based programs to be implemented should decrease students’ body mass index by increasing physical activity levels, nutrition and weight management knowledge; increase motor skill development and physical activity as a daily behavior during non-school hours; and increase student satisfaction with physical education activities.
Additional physical education technology, such as pedometers and heart rate monitors, will be purchased with this funding. The grant also provides training for teachers in the integration of health and nutritional concepts into math and science classroom activities.
“This project will continue the foundation established at K-5 by creating change in middle and high school PE programs with similar curriculum,” Smith said.
– Student Fitness Centers ó This project will create state-of-the-art student fitness centers at the middle and high schools. In this project, the secondary schools will be able to revamp their physical education programs from a sport-based competitive program to a wellness-based approach.
With the combination of cardiovascular fitness equipment ó such as treadmills, stair climbers, recumbent bikes, elliptical cross trainers, Aerodyne bikes and aerobic fitness video tapes ó these programs will create a vision for the future of high school physical education.
Designed to enhance nutrition and wellness instruction for grades 6-12, the grant will allow the district to purchase a researched-based, video-driven health education curriculum called “Connect with Kids Health.” Smith said, “This curriculum includes stories with ‘real kids and teens’ sharing their challenges and accomplishments about nutrition, competition, body image, social pressures and other age-appropriate health topics.”
– Data Collection/ Virtual Physical Education Administrator ó A new data-driven accountability system will be created as a part of this proposed grant.
The “Virtual Physical Education Administrator” will track and monitor students’ K-12 physical education progress over their 13 years of school.
With this technology, all physical education teachers will be able to: track and monitor student fitness and progress on state standards; develop and share lesson plans; automatically generate student and team certificates/awards; create and share grading rubrics, curriculum maps and end-of-course exams; generate student progress reports; and keep principals and central office staff informed on student achievement.
“The Rowan-Salisbury School System is very fortunate to have been selected for this physical education federal grant,” Grissom said, “especially in a time when there is much concern over childhood obesity and nutrition. Staff members continue to be committed to seeking outside resources to supplement our funding so we can meet all the needs of our students.
“The grant funding for this program will bring new ideas and equipment models to transform and outfit existing physical education programs in the school system.”

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