Exemplary Districts and Schools – Granby, CO
East Grand School District
Engaging Students in Physical Activity
Lack of energy, poor self-image and health complications make it hard to concentrate in school. East Grand School District in Granby, Colorado, is taking steps to make sure its students are fit and healthy. Students in kindergarten through grade 8 participate in physical education every day.
“For us, it comes down to students’ health and well-being,” says Superintendent Nancy Karas. “We know the disturbing statistics about childhood obesity, and we want to give our kids the tools they need to make good decisions about their health.”
Movement isn’t limited to the school gym. It extends into the classroom. Many of the district’s teachers have participated in courses and workshops that show them how to incorporate more physical activity in the school day.
For example, instead of stapling handouts together and passing them out to students, one middle school teacher puts her class in motion. “The students walked by her desk a total of three times to grab each of their handouts,” recalls Karas. “The whole time the kids were chanting math facts, answering her math-related questions and reviewing that night’s homework. The kids were having a ball – they were smiling and laughing.” In that short amount of time, Karas says, the teacher conducted a math review, incorporated physical activity, reinforced the day’s math lesson and bonded with her students.
Karas says the investment in healthy students is well worth it. “If we have kids who are unhealthy or obese, we are going to spend money elsewhere. We’ll have to hire more school nurses, counselors and assistant principals to help manage discipline issues. This is a cost savings for us in the long run.”
As a former middle school principal, Karas saw firsthand the detrimental impact of limited physical activity. One year, she was forced to scale back physical education to find more time for reading and math. The results? “We immediately went back to more physical education the following year,” says Karas. “I saw that students could better manage their emotions and make better decisions when they had physical activity every day. It helps students stay in balance emotionally and physically. It also teaches social interaction.” The number of fights and level of student agitation decreased as a result.
For more information, contact Superintendent Nancy Karas at 970-887-2581 or email email@example.com.
The Colorado Legacy Foundation believes that increased student achievement for all Colorado students requires effective leaders in every school, effective educators in every classroom, and healthy and engaging environments that ignite a passion for learning in every student.