Adams-Cheshire Schools Awarded Presidential Fitness Grant

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The School Committee heard about a grant to improve students' fitness at Monday's meeting in Cheshire.

CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Adams-Cheshire Regional School District will receive $2,513 to aid in a federal fitness program for the students.

Kathy Hill and Dan Wehle, elementary physical education teachers, applied for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. The program is a health-related assessment sponsored by Michele Obama in 2012. The program provides educational and motivational tools to help support educators and motivate students to live healthier lives.

"I think it's a great tool to measure student's physical fitness levels, and this is something that would have cost $2,500 out of the budget so we are happy to be able to get it for free," Wehle said.

The grant will support the FitnessGram national assessment. The program allows students to partake in a number of physical fitness tests that will inform them of their fitness level and how to improve it.

The assessment measures cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance and flexibility and will be implemented in kindergarten through fifth-grade physical education classes.

Wehle said thousands of students are involved in the program, and there are nearly 20 schools that partake in Massachusetts alone.

The program is not based on competition but improvement, he said. Also, only the students will know their scores.

"They don't have to get stressed out about it or feel bad if they didn't score as high as another student, but it does give them an idea of what they need to improve upon in the future," Wehle said.

Wehle said the elementary physical education classes have been implementing a similar program but never had the proper tools.

"We have been doing these assessments on the fly because we didn't have the proper equipment to test," he said. "We will basically be doing the same thing that we have been doing but now we will have all the proper tools."

The grant comes in three installments over three years. The grant will provide the FitnessGram software along with training, support, and educational and fitness tools.

Wehle said he eventually would like to use the software on the district's network so that all schools in the district could have access to the FitnessGram.

School Committee Chairman Paul Butler shared his enthusiasm about the grant, especially when the district has making many budget cuts.

"It's wonderful news," Butler said. "It's certainly not a lot of money, but every little bit is an important piece of the puzzle, and we should never lose sight of all the efforts and the attitudes of all who are involved that make these programs work."

The program will officially be implemented during the beginning of the next school year.

Tags: childrens health,   federal grants,   health & wellness,   

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