Health and Physical Education teacher Nick Thompson shares his timeline of how Lets Move! Active Schools has helped the Wicomico County Public Schools become more physically active.
Spring of 2011 – Prince Street Elementary School
We applied and received a grant for $1000 to increase student’s activity level during school. In addition, the school was participating in Fuel up To Play 60. We had been successful with this program and wanted to add to our success. After discussion with my supervisor and Let’s Move, the following school year (2011-12) funding was transferred to my new school called Westside Intermediate School.
Fall 2012 to Spring 2014 – Westside Intermediate School
One thousand schools in the country were chosen to receive $1000, and we were one of them. All of the funding was used to increase physical activity during school. Our focus was to help teachers provide activities for indoor recess and in-class physical activity breaks. We purchased a complete set of cup stacks so students could work on their coordination and cooperation. We also added some funding to a softball field project. We were allowed to combine funding from Fuel up To Play 60 and plan a larger scale project of renovating the softball field. Students, faculty, administration and parents all supported our efforts. Administration redesigned our class schedule to include physical activity breaks every day for every student in the school. Our goal was to improve the chances of student’s ability to learn through activity. In the spring of 2015, we applied for Lets Move’s National Recognition. Due to all stakeholders playing a pivotal role in changing the culture of Westside Intermediate School, we were able to become more active and achieve Let’s Move National Recognition. I was voluntarily transferred to Pittsville Elementary and Middle School in the summer.
August 2015 – Pittsville Elementary & Middle
We encouraged the teachers and students to participate in activity throughout the entire school day. Teachers are working to increase physical activity by including activities that integrate physical activity and brain breaks in the classroom. Other goals for this year include giving all students more opportunity to participate in after school programs. We have already been successful at working to create a more active culture. The groundwork has been laid over the past couple of years to increase activity and healthy eating. Professional Development was provided to the teachers in October and they are becoming more inspired. It is almost as if things are picking up from where we left off at Westside intermediate School. The support from Administration, parents, teachers and students is incredible. Together we are making a difference.
In the fall of 2014, Wicomico County has adopted Fuel up To Play 60 and Let’s Move as county initiatives. Through the physical education department every school has implemented these programs the last two years. I am thankful for all of the support and proud of the students, parents, teachers, administrators through out the county for embracing these two programs. It is great to be a part of this outstanding team.
Currently, one of the challenges is providing more than 120 minutes of activity per week. This is a budget and scheduling challenge. We are currently working on a project proving the association of fitness levels to academic achievement within our system holistically. The data so far is compelling and has already helped to gain more support from local, state and national organizations.
About the Author:
Nicholas Thompson has been teaching physical education at the elementary and secondary levels at three schools in Wicomico County Public Schools for the last 12 years. He was recently promoted to Supervisor of Physical Education, Health and Family Consumer Sciences for Wicomico County Public Schools and continues to support county wide initiatives and programs, with a goal is for all schools to become Let’s Move! Active Schools.