Over the last five years, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Nike and Northwest Health Foundation gave over $1 million total to 139 Oregon elementary schools to support physical education programs and inspire a lifelong love of physical activity. Now Oregon Active Schools is winding down, and we’re sharing highlights and learnings.
Read on to find out how three elementary schools used Oregon Active Schools grants to increase children and families’ access to play and exercise.
Before moving to Oregon a few years ago, PE teacher Brack Hassel had never received any money to support his students’ physical education. Then, his first year at Parkdale, he received a $3000 grant from Oregon Active Schools. The grant changed his whole curriculum and increased students’ interest in and access to physical activity.
Parkdale used Oregon Active Schools funding to purchase new PE equipment, revamp their recess space with new play structures, and partner with Playworks.
Brack’s goal this year was to engage every student in play at recess. The past couple years, teachers and students have lost instruction time due to behavior problems stemming off recess. Kids often floated around the play area with nothing to do and returned to class restless. Over the last year, Playworks instituted junior coaches (upper-elementary students who help everyone feel welcome at recess) and more options for games. Parkdale teachers report a huge decrease in lost instruction time, and recess monitors report more kids happy and moving.
Washington Elementary used their Oregon Active Schools grants to purchase new equipment, with a focus on safer equipment for kindergarten and first grade students. They also used the funding to support their track club.
Washington Elementary introduced a running and walking station at recess, offering incentives based on distance. More and more students began to participate, until Washington Elementary decided to expand track club to morning and afternoon times as well, increasing access for students and their families. Now PE teacher Wil Poton notices more parents getting involved too, with parents volunteering to run and walk with the students and motivate them.
Independence Elementary used Oregon Active Schools funds to start and improve their running and walking program with incentives, tracking cards and toe tokens. In addition, PE teacher Meg Greiner purchased lights for dance parties and circus arts equipment, including stilts, pogo sticks, flower sticks, diabolos and juggling balls and scarves.
Students at Independence love running club, circus arts and dance parties, all of which are included before school, during recess and lunch, and after school. With new equipment and a greater variety of activities, more students can access physical activity than ever before.
Independence also used Oregon Active Schools funds to bring We Care Sports to lead an assembly and family fun night. About 80 students and family participated.