This is the seventh year that our school has been involved in the FUTP 60 program. It is one of the best ways to help children gain activity time and more knowledge about healthy eating habits. This year we have our Before School Activity Time, when the PE staff sets up and supervises students using a variety of equipment and getting their day started off right with some activity. We also have a San Jose Hawk Running Club, where we encourage students to come before school and run laps.
Our school population is around 350 students. We usually have about 150 students out at our activity time and about 90 students involved in the running club. So far this year, our students have completed over 2000 miles collectively. We have found that our before school activities even have a positive effect on reducing the number of students arriving late for school. Based on many sources of research, we believe that we are doing our part in helping our students to be better, more focused learners, raising test scores and helping with behavior issues.
How did you accomplish your goals?
First, the PE staff had to agree to give up our own planning time to run these events. We then secured the support of the administration, staff, and PTA. We then stressed to the students the importance of physical activity and the effect it can have in their learning and testing. We advertised on our school news, newsletters, school website and in our PE classes. Each morning that we have an activity time before school we announce it on the PA system, inviting the students to join in.
How do you plan to make this Play last during the school year and beyond?
Since we are a Florida school, we have to be attentive to the temperature and humidity levels. We started our program in Oct, with one day a week for the students to come out before school to play and one day for the running club. The students earn tokens for miles completed. Our PTA offered to assist in the activity time, so we added another activity day. We plan to continue until the end of the school year and plan to continue next year.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge we face is getting enough supervision. Teachers are overwhelmed these days with planning and meeting standards that they are not willing to give up their planning time in the morning before school. We have a few teachers who volunteer to come out and help and the PE staff supervises. We definitely needed help with the running club so we asked our PTA and they have helped us out in that area.