SVVSD: Striding into Spring

Spring is on its way! Symbolic of renewal, spring is a fitting time for new projects, for tackling goals with renewed energy and creativity. Quiet, budding nature inspires contemplation, too, especially centered around health and well-being. And of course, spring gifts us with a refreshing lift in spirits, setting the mood for celebration. We like the way Robin Williams summed this turning of the seasons up, saying spring is nature’s way of saying, “let’s party”!

At SVVSD, there’s always much to celebrate, not least regarding integrated opportunities for physical activity. Physical activity lowers risk of obesity, improves overall physical health, supports psychological well-being, mood and more. In other words, getting students moving means supporting healthy students who are empowered to make healthy choices and more available for learning. SVVSD students demonstrate these positive outcomes and more on a daily basis, and we felt their hard work deserves another update. So, we managed to catch up with a few recent breathtaking strides, thanks to SVVSD Physical Activity Grant Coordinator Paige Jennings:

Going the Distance with 100 Mile Club
Inspired by special education teacher Kara Lubin, who inspired and motivated her students with her dream of becoming a gold medalist in 1992, the 100 Mile Club began with a simple goal: students who ran 100 miles in a year would earn a gold medal. Today, the thriving, popular club enjoys participation from all 31 elementary and K-8 schools. Currently, 4, 715 students, 339 parents, and 132 staff members are registered! Students are offered consistent and special opportunities for students to log miles, running or walking, incentives along the way, and special medal celebrations at the year’s end. Alongside fitness gains and great camaraderie, schools are thrilled to see students develop in focus, school readiness, self-esteem, and so much more. Here’s a small sampling overheard from the fields:

  • “A boy with “Anger Issues” (his words) told me that he was so glad he was doing this because all of the walking would help him fight the weight gain that his meds cause. We also discussed how moving helps the brain with anger.”
  • “Our first week of 100 Mile Club was great!  We had between 40 – 60 kids each day and put in 242 miles as a group.  BUT the best part was seeing how much the kids loved it and how we are already building a sense of community.   A 5th grade boy (who is a really good runner) was walking the last young runners in on their last lap and giving them encouragement along the way.”
  • “We are at 1409 miles altogether! Our kids are loving this, and it is really having a positive impact on learning time in the classroom!”

Schools Get Moving in Community Support

The 100 Mile Club extends well beyond school grounds. Club participants and their families represent in shining numbers at local races like the Longmont Turkey Trot, which saw over 163 registered participants in 2014 and 218 in 2015. Club goals have further inspired special opportunities to log miles in the form of out-of-school events. Hygiene’s “Jingle Bell Run”, Rocky Mountain Elementary’s “Pumpkin Run”, Burlington’s “Hot Chocolate Run”, Mead Elementary’s “Mead for Speed” and various events hosted by Flagstaff Academy and by Red Hawk Elementary over Thanksgiving and Winter breaks enthusiastically invite the community into the spirit of things.

Alongside building physical fitness and academic strides, SVVSD students exercise compassion. Hygiene Elementary’s “Star Light Walk”, held Friday, November 13th, was a very special evening for the Hygiene community, and a huge success. Hot cocoa and glow necklaces were sold in support of a Hygiene Kindergartner battling Leukemia. Lights were hung to guide the walkers, who exceeded their fundraising goals. Another enormously successful benefit, Black Rock’s “Let’s Help Abi 2K Benefit Walk”, drew more than 700 registrations, 103 of which were 100 Mile Club participants.

Leading the Way

We know our #HealthyLongmont is at the forefront of progress. It’s nice to see the word is spreading, as more and more, others look to Longmont as an example of how to do things right. On December 11th, Sue Brittenham of the Colorado Health Foundation and SVVSD Physical Activity Grant Coordinator Paige Jennings hosted a statewide visit from teachers, administrators, and coordinators to showcase the amazing things happening with physical activity here in St. Vrain. Visitors observed the 100-Mile Club in action at Alpine Elementary; Mead Elementary’s all-school movement rotations; individual movement breaks in several Central Elementary classrooms; and Flagstaff Academy’s daily middle school walking break. Additionally, they were able to observe some of the fantastic recess equipment purchased by the district over the past two years: over $81,000 worth, plus over $407,000 worth of classroom supplies to support integration of movement in the classroom.

As even the most casual observer can see, this is a district that invests in healthy, happy learners! It’s no wonder SVVSD’s December visitors left motivated and inspired. We feel the same. Keep the momentum going, SVVSD!

Photo credit: Flagstaff Academy (Students enjoy a regular movement break in Ms. Applehans’ Kindergarten classroom)

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