Circle Cross Ranch K-8 STEM Academy – PE Champions

circle cross ranch PEWe love to highlight schools that have raised the bar for physical education. Circle Cross Ranch K-8 STEM Academy in Arizona joined Let’s Move! Active Schools to become PE champions, and by motivating students and expanding their collection of sports equipment through grants, they became an active school. PE Teacher Jim Segar shares their story:

The idea to try to get Let’s Move! Active Schools to Circle Cross Ranch K-8/STEM Academy (CCR) came when I tried to write a grant and it asked for Let’s Move! Active Schools verification. Our school was not a member of Let’s Move! Active Schools, so this motivated me to sign up and go through the process. Being recognized as a top Let’s Move! Active Schools school in Southeast Phoenix, Arizona was an important step for us. We are only one of fourteen schools with Let’s Move! Active Schools recognition competing for grants in Arizona. Our school has 66% of our students on free and reducedlunch with very little budget for equipment. We had a few balls and hoops and carts for each grade for recess. We had very little equipment to run the CCR Physical Education Program, we purchased most equipment ourselves. We wanted our Florence District moto to mean more; “Kids First” at CCR is what we go by.

I was inspired when I applied for my first grant to The Arizona Diamondbacks for a start-up grant. I said that it was time for us to step up to the plate and hit a home run! Why? Because our students don’t have gloves to play catch with and need to learn. The Diamondback’s did step up, and now we have 30 baseball/softball gloves, bases and hitting tees. They also gave us 250 tickets to bring our teams to a game. That was totally awesome! This grant got us up and running as the information in other grants is very similar. We also received other grants, like Fitnessgram which is a major non-equipment grant. The US Tennis Association Start-up line grant and equipment grant was huge; they are so good in the Phoenix area.

We now have over 500 students playing tennis and loving it. Open gym before school, students in third grade are hitting balls off the wall. I am happy because they are active. Let’s Move! Active Schools guides us by suggesting what is needed for an active school in ten to twelve different areas. You then document that you are doing it – PROVE YOU ARE ACTIVE! We are now an active school and it carries throughout the culture of the school.

circle cross ranch K-8 school

The moment where I felt the most proud and saw my efforts had made a difference was when I received 28 cards from second graders that said congratulations for being 2015-16 Teacher of the Year at Circle Cross Ranch. It was the pictures of them playing tennis on the cover of several cards that made me feel overjoyed and very satisfied.

Our staff at Circle Cross Ranch is like a family, our Principal Rebecca Hendry is extremely supportive and helps make us successful. Our staff has a walking group, a Zumba class twice a week, and a step competition using Fitbit and cell phones. We have inter-school softball and volleyball games. We are active, a Healthy Generation School, supported by a committee on health and nutrition on campus. We address nutrition every day for five minutes in each class K-5. We have changed the milk consumption from 14 cases of chocolate milk to seven cased, and increased white milk consumption from 2 cases to 7 cases…72 cartons in each case.

Our sister school is applying for Let’s Move! Active Schools as we write this, so we have inspired others. What this has done for me is inspired me to be active and eat healthy at a trim and fit 62 years of age. Thank you Michelle Obama for supporting students from all schools!

For more Active Schools success stories, visit

About Let’s Move! Active Schools:

Let’s Move! Active Schools is a sub-initiative of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. They announced the 2015 National Award recipients which included 525 U.S. schools, recognized for their efforts of increasing physical activity for their students and creating an Active School environment. They are truly School Champions, making a difference in the world of physical education. S&S Worldwide joined Let’s Move! Active Schools to support their goal that Active Kids Do Better.

Want your school to become an Active School? Join the movement.

About the Author:

Let's Move! Active Schools PE teacherJim Segar started teaching in Vermont in 1977 at U-32 Jr.-Sr. High School, and retired after 31 years in coaching and physical education. He coached Ice Hockey, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Soccer and Track. Jim took his hockey teams to Finland twice. He was Vermont’s Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2003 and Vermont President of VAHPERD in 2005. In 2008, Jim worked for FEMA (Homeland Security) and was involved in several disaster recoveries. He was hired as Assistant Principal at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley, Arizona in 2009 and is now teaching physical education in the same Florence District at Circle Cross Ranch K-8. Visit their school website here. Jim has been teaching for 38 years and loves it!

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