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Panther Pacers Fuel Success!

By
Pohley Richey,   Pierce Park Elementary School
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Physical Activity Participation
Panther Pacers Fuel Success!
Our 100 Mile Club program, Panther Pacers, really took off this spring thanks to the devotion of school employees, volunteers, and thanks to the Idaho Dairy Council for awesome incentives and rewards that kept students motivated! We started tracking laps during lunch recess every Tuesday and Thursday this spring, awarding incentives based on laps monthly. We developed a competition (individual and classroom) for grades K-3 and 4-6 for the highest number of laps (individual) and highest average number of laps every month. The winners receive the "Golden Shoe Award" and are announced by the principal each month. There were end of the year prizes and medals awarded for the top individual Pacers and classrooms this spring. All of this created a groundswell of participation. During the initial month of tracking, we had 53% of the classrooms participating, with participants walking or running 554 miles during the month. Each month, participation steadily increased with encouragement from teachers and participating friends and classmates. The last full month of tracking found 71% of classrooms participating, and the students completing over 1000 miles during the month! Students absolutely love the program, and can't wait for it to begin again next fall. Parents have approached me telling me how much their kids love it, and how great it is to have them focus on health and wellness, and get in such good shape. The school principal loves the Pacer program, not only for the emphasis on health and wellness, and increase in physical fitness, but the program has also drastically cut behavioral problems at recess! Community members are supportive of the program, and the introduction of a life-long physical fitness activity. In addition to Pacers and physical fitness, we place a huge emphasis with the students on the importance of healthy eating, good food choices, and taking care of their bodies. We are excited to build on the successes from this year to make the program even bigger and better next year!

What improvements have you seen at your school?

Students are excited about Pacers, and love to participate! The principal is super supportive, and loves that the program has led to fewer disciplinary issues at lunch recess.