NATIONAL WINNERS – $100,000 AWARD
Corona-Norco Unified School District
West Region | Norco, CA
100 Mile Club – In the field of school-based activity and wellness, running and walking programs are extremely popular. With minimal cost and facility requirements (walking can take place indoors or out, on fields, paths, or in hallways) they are cost effective and get kids’ hearts pumping. Among the many schools nationwide employing this prevalent model, the 100 Mile Club in Corona-Norco, CA is a true pioneer. Inspired by the 1992 Summer Olympics, special education teacher Kara Lubin had a dream that kids would be motivated to stay fit by the simple goal of “winning the gold medal”. These medals, based on dedication and effort, not speed and fitness, could reward students of all abilities, including Lubin’s special education students. Lubin took action and founded the 100 Mile Club in 1993. Nearly 20 years later, the 100 Mile Club has stood the test of time, and been emulated by dozens of schools in California and nationally. Elementary school students are presented with a straightforward challenge, run 100 miles over the course of the school year. Students log miles before school, after school, during recess, and at sanctioned community events, such as local road races. Milestones are rewarded with simple tokens – wristbands, pencils, and medals. A year-end assembly celebrates and recognizes students who have achieved 100 miles, and those still with miles to go. The program is highly scalable and easily replicated and is now in more than 115 schools across 7 different U.S. states. Watch.
Red Hawk Elementary
Central/Mountain Region | Erie, Colorado
Red Hawk Movement – Movement and exercise are more than activities at Red Hawk Elementary. They are foundational elements of the school culture. As a new public school in the St. Vrain Valley School District outside of Denver, Red Hawk built physical activity into the plan from day one. Using a rotating daily “movement calendar”, students gain 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on a daily basis, in addition to scheduled PE class and recess. These in-class movement sessions take place in 20-minute blocks, once in the morning, and once in the afternoon immediately before math and science, the most challenging academic subjects. Favorite activities include the ‘Red Hawk Walk,’ in which students power-walk along designated routes throughout the building, as well as in-class cardio and dance breaks. Each Friday the week ends with “All-School Movement” with all 460 students, faculty and staff heading outside to participate in a coordinated fitness routine set to popular music. Watch.
REGIONAL WINNERS – $25,000 AWARD
El Paso Independent School District
Southwest Region | El Paso, TX
Healthy Habits: Live Them. Teach Them. – Serving 79 schools (K-8) and more than 45,000 students, EPISD’s district-wide, coordinated health program emphasizes a “whole student” approach to wellness. Faced with extremely high obesity rates, EPISD put this program in place to impact every aspect of energy balance with its students. Health literacy and increased quality physical activity are the program’s defining objectives. All physical activity and nutrition programming is integrated into the regular school day and relies on existing staff who step up to act and receive district-wide training to serve as wellness team members and leaders: classroom teachers, health educators, cafeteria workers, and administrators. The Healthy Habits program provides students multiple opportunities for movement throughout the day including brain breaks, recess before lunch, Activity Quotient or “AQ Zones”, and action-based learning labs. Robust nutrition and healthy eating education compliments physical activity programming. El Paso is leading the way with physical activity and has shared its best practices with other schools in the state via the Texas State AAHPERD conference and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) conference. Watch.
Harlem, Inwood/Washington Heights (PS 4, PS 102, PS 128, PS 123, PS 152, PS/IS 180, PS/IS 206, PS/IS 210)
New York/New Jersey Region | New York, NY
Just Move – Looking for creative ways to meet the state standard of 120 minutes of physical activity per week, and facing space and scheduling constraints, a group of 8 innovative schools in New York City has employed a highly developed classroom-based activity program called Just Move. First launched in 1999 in Washington Height’s PS 128M, Just Move now reaches 8 schools in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem, with plans for 7 more schools in the fall of 2012. Developed in collaboration with New York Presbyterian Hospital and other partners in the “Healthy Schools, Healthy Families” (HSHF) initiative, Just Move features an academically-integrated curriculum of a wide range of 5-minute in-class activity breaks. Color-coded flashcards explain the movements and corresponding academic lesson, with yellow for stretching and held-poses, and blue for intense cardiovascular sequences and plyometrics. Student ownership is key in making the program fun and embraced by kids. Students themselves are photographed as the demonstration models on each card, and in-class leaders help teachers run each break. A true homegrown approach, the cards and lesson plans are developed at the central level, then customized by the staff and students of each school at the start of the year. Together with other forward-thinking developments such as yoga, community gardens, and full-time P.E. instruction, Just Move is contributing to an active and happy student body. Watch.
Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts
Atlantic Region | Hilton Head, South Carolina
Strength Summed Up Team – The Strength Summed Up Team is an innovative before-school exercise program pioneered by PE teacher, Jackie Wheeler. Students commit to a full year of these intensive sessions, which take place 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week. Exemplary academic, discipline, and community service standards must also be met in order to maintain one’s place on the team. Originally designed as an intervention for students who were facing high risk for obesity, these tough workouts began to draw broad-based attention. Students of all abilities and needs gravitated toward the strength training, weight bearing, and cardio activities that make up the core of the program. Strength Team membership has now become a badge of honor and the group garners considerable prestige within the school community. The Strength Team regularly performs for school and outside community events, inspiring students, and parents, of all ages. Watch.
Midwest Region | Farmington, Minnesota
Running Club & Century Club – At Meadowview Elementary, students are motivated to stay highly active both at school, and at home. Designed by PE Teacher Joe McCarthy, the Running Club and the Century Club are complementary programs which use an incentive system to reward students of all abilities for their physical activity, regardless of what form. During the school day, Running Club rewards students for mileage goals attained walking or jogging at the student’s own pace. Outside the school day, students earn additional “miles” by logging and converting activity of all forms. Popular activities like hiking and skateboarding, or group play with friends in the neighborhood; all are encouraged and rewarded back at school. By engaging the local business community and other supporters, Mr. McCarthy has been able to create health-related incentives such as gym passes, tickets to local sporting events, and gift cards to athletic stores. Combined with structured P.E. classes, these programs have kids moving 7 days a week. Watch.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Southeast Region | Miami, Florida
Fit-Tech Wellness Lab – Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the 4th largest district in the nation, is at the leading edge when it comes to integrating technology and current physiology science to engage and motivate students. Miami-Dade operates in a highly space-constrained environment; many of the elementary schools lack a gymnasium or any dedicated space for physical activity. Tackling this issue head-on, classrooms have been repurposed into student wellness labs and outfitted with an array of current equipment and technology. Exergaming via popular platforms such as Wii and Dance Dance Revolution, cardio bikes linked to PlayStation virtual trainers, and equipment for yoga, pilates, and cardio circuits; MDCPS students of all abilities have access to a wide range of solutions to get them moving. Under the professional supervision of their P.E. instructors, students take part in vigorous, stimulating physical activity in a non-competitive, inclusive environment. Through innovative engagement of community groups, non-profits, and the private sector, MDCPS has made this vision a reality and is rapidly introducing this model to more school buildings. Initiated at the high school and junior high levels, the model is now being piloted and expanded to reach elementary students as well. Watch.
Natick Public Schools
Northeast Region | Natick, MA
BOKS – What can happen when a small group of concerned and engaged parents is inspired to take action? Innovative and life-impacting solutions to some of our toughest challenges. Disturbed by the growing trend of childhood obesity, Kathleen Tullie, Jennifer Lawrence, & Cheri Levitz, mothers of elementary school students in Natick, Mass, were inspired by Dr. John Ratey’s influential book Spark. The trio were excited about Dr. Ratey’s case for the link between aerobic exercise and academic achievement, and decided to do something about it. Working with the staff and administration of Natick’s Memorial Elementary School, the group founded BOKS in 2009. BOKS is a 40-minute before-school physical activity program featuring structured group play with games and drills emphasizing aerobic exertion. Success of the program spread by “word-of-mom” and BOKS began to gain steam. With support from the non-profit Reebok Foundation, BOKS has grown into a scalable and flexible packaged curriculum that is being adopted by schools nationwide. From its humble beginnings in Natick, BOKS is now being enjoyed by students in more than 80 schools across the country and shows no signs of slowing down. Watch.
Overland Elementary School
West Region | Los Angeles, CA
Overland in Motion – Before cracking a book or lifting a pencil, students at Overland Elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) invigorate their bodies and brains and prepare to learn, through movement. Every morning at 8:11am, the first bell sounds, and the entire student population assembles on the blacktop for Overland in Motion. Launched through the inspiration of Overland mom, Apryl Krakovsky, the program is based around 15 minutes of group exercise set to music performed by the entire school. Every day, all year long. The daily routines feature cardio, plyometrics, yoga, and stretching. Recently awarded the Governor’s Spotlight Award for Physical Fitness, Overland in Motion has received wide acclaim since its start in 2009. Teachers, parents, and school staff have embraced the program and regularly join in the movement. Overland in Motion has inspired the entire school community to get involved, and parents and siblings now join in additional activities including Sunday hikes, and family math & science with motion nights. Overland is now being studied as a model for other schools within LAUSD to adopt their program. Watch.