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All Aboard!

By
Raul Munoz,   Evans Elementary School
Play:
Topics:
Access to Healthy Foods, Community Involvement, Physical Activity Participation,  Teamwork
Our faculty have joined forces with our students to participate in a variety of physical activities and promote the importance of healthy choices throughout the school year. Here are some examples: We invited the Southwest Dairy Farmers “Mobile Classroom” to educate our students on the importance of drinking milk regularly in order to get a variety of nutrients to “FUEL UP.” On rainy days, teachers use websites such as “Go Noodle” or “Adventure to Fitness” to conduct indoor recess or brain breaks. It is not uncommon to see our teachers participate with our students during this time. Once a week during physical education, our 2nd grade students and our cafeteria staff exercise together to complete our “Circuit Training.” Participants spend one minute at each station and rest for approximately 15 seconds prior to starting the next station. Each station works a different part of the body allowing participants to recover while continuously staying active for approximately 45 minutes. After school while the students are practicing for our running club, several staff members accompany the students by walking around the perimeter of our school. Running club practice is held two times a week. Twice a week after school, we have two tennis programs that consist of approximately 50 students. As the students are improving, we decided to start a monthly “Tennis Tournament.” This is a doubles tournament which consists of one staff member and one student. We do not have tennis courts on our campus so, for the tournaments, we visit tennis courts near our school. The kids love playing with our staff members. Parents have enjoyed spending a Friday evening watching their child play a new sport. Some parents have shown interest in joining us in the future. This has been a huge success. It is on the tennis days where we have a non-profit organization visit our campus after school to educate our students on the importance of healthy eating, while also providing our students with a healthy snack. Finally, we submitted a grant to a local business in efforts to create our first ever George Evans Elementary Swim Club. Once a week we take approximately 25 students to the Corpus Christi Natatorium for an hour practice. This program will last a total of 20 weeks. Regardless of which of the above activities are taking place, it is very rewarding to see both the students and staff encourage and support each other. Our staff is helping model the importance of staying active and eating healthy throughout life.

How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?

Several of these examples involve outside resources who help us make these ideas become realities. It is through their dedication to our school that we can continue these programs throughout the year. In addition, the students have more fun when they see staff members participating. This is a win/win situation. The more students we have participating, the easier it is for us to show that the demand for these programs exists and therefore we can count on their continued support.

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Our school is located in a low income area which includes several homeless shelters; lack of transportation is common. Once we secured funding for our swimming program, we requested bus transportation to the Natatorium. However, due to the lack of bus drivers and scheduling problems, our request could not be granted. No buses were available to get students to our destination. Our administrators and other staff members offered to transport the students to attend this unique opportunity.

What improvements have you seen at your school?

Our cafeteria workers are very excited to attend PE with our students. Our tennis/swimming students are showing great improvement and are requesting to attend more often. After-school programs are only offered to 3rd thru 5th grade students. Due to the success and excitement spread by those in attendance, many younger students are eager to participate. Regardless of which of the above improvements, those involved have most importantly improved their health/self-esteem…no matter what age.