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“Rural Nebraska on the Move” grant provides the “SPARK” to keep Norris kids and teachers up & moving

“Rural Nebraska on the Move” grant provides the “SPARK” to keep Norris kids and teachers up & moving

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Norris School District has continued successful implementation of the ESU 6-led “Rural Nebraska on the Move” federal “PEP” (Physical Education Program) grant that is bringing over $1.2 million in competitively won federal funds to Norris and five other partner school districts.Those districts include Dorchester, Exeter Milligan, Friend, Milford, McCool Junction and Norris.

Norris’ highly qualified PE staff and students have used FitnessGram over the fall months to help students set personally meaningful fitness goals and target the “Healthy Fit Zone” for strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.

Dr. John Skretta, Norris Superintendent, noted that “our schools’ PE teachers are so excited to have enough equipment for all students plus a variety of PE equipment that incorporates high levels of student participation. The Fitnessgram assessments simply extend upon what we have already used as a regular student cardio, strength and flexibility assessment for years, now with better data back to students to use in planning their own health and fitness goals.

Also included in the SPARK programming through the grant was curriculum training for all pre k-5th grade teachers provided on November 7th by a national SPARK trainer. The strategies learned focused on engaging students through movement in the classroom. Teachers were given resources to implement in this area.

As grant coordinator and long-time Norris teacher Jane Hansmeyer noted, “While physical activity routines to keep kids engaged is nothing new for our school, we are glad to have been afforded the opportunity through ESU 6 to have resources, education, equipment and curriculum supporting our years of efforts in promoting it along with good nutrition in school.”

The grant purpose is to increase the level of consistency in best practices educationally in key target areas such as nutritional awareness and fitness. The goals of the grant are to improve students’ physical activity as measured by the percentage of students achieving 60 minutes of daily physical activity through pedometer usage and self-activity reporting for assessment; decrease the overall BMI (body mass index) of students in all 6 districts over three years, and increase consumption of nutritious foods.