Schools re­ceive grant to pro­mote fit­ness

The Covington News - - Local News - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­

New­ton County School Sys­tem is one of only 56 school dis­tricts in the na­tion to re­ceive the Carol M. White Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram grant in 2012. NCSS re­ceived $408,951 for the 20122013 school year and will re­ceive an an­tic­i­pated award of $131,729 for each of the fol­low­ing two school years.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Kathy Gar­ber, grants co­or­di­na­tor for NCSS, New­ton County is the only school dis­trict in Ge­or­gia to re­ceive the PEP Grant in 2012 and one of only nine dis­tricts in Ge­or­gia to re­ceive the grant since its in­cep­tion in 2002.

Grant re­cip­i­ents must im­ple­ment pro­grams that help students make progress to­ward meet­ing their state stan­dards for phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. The pro­grams must of­fer in­struc­tion in healthy eat­ing habits and good nu­tri­tion. Among the types of ac­tiv­i­ties that the grants sup­port is in­struc­tion in mo­tor skills that sup­port a life­long healthy life­style and op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for teach­ers of phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion to stay abreast of the lat­est re­search and trends in the field of phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

“Ex­er­cise and good nu­tri­tion make for hap­pier, health­ier, more at­ten­tive and more pro­duc­tive students,” said U.S. Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion Arne Dun­can. “These grants will help students strengthen their bod­ies and in so do­ing, in­spire their minds to con­front the chal­lenges that face them both inside the class­room and out.”

The PEP grant will pro­vide funds for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the New­ton County HOPE (Health Op­ti­miz­ing Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion) pro­gram. HOPE was de­signed as the re­sult of three years of re­search and anal­y­sis of cur­rent pro­grams and prac­tices, con­ducted by phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers from all of New­ton County’s el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high schools, un­der the lead­er­ship of Dr. Kathy Gar­ber. Work be­gan in 2009 in prepa­ra­tion for im­ple­men­ta­tion of new Ge­or­gia Per­for­mance Stan­dards for Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing the an­nual ad­min­is­tra­tion of Fit­ness­Gram, a cri­te­rion-ref­er­enced fit­ness as­sess­ment, and BMI mea­sure­ments be­gin­ning in fall 2011.

“A lot of progress has al­ready been made to­ward reach­ing our ul­ti­mate goal of help­ing to pro­duce fit and healthy adults who un­der­stand the im­por­tance of good nu­tri­tion and healthy eat­ing habits,” said Gar­ber. “Steven Joyce, P.E. teacher at the New­ton County Theme School and P.E. Con­tent Spe­cial­ist, has worked with P.E. Con­tent Lead­ers from el­e­men­tary, mid­dle and high schools to de­velop cur­ricu­lum maps based on State Stan­dards Health and P.E. and Cur­ricu­lum Man­u­als from na­tion­ally rec­og­nized, re­search-based Cur­ricu­lum Pro­grams were pur­chased for all the schools last year through a gen­er­ous grant from the Gen­eral Mills Cov­ing­ton Community Ac­tion Coun­cil. Teach­ers also com­pleted train­ing in ad­min­is­ter­ing the fit­ness

as­sess­ment, Fit­ness­Gram, which was ad­min­is­tered to all P.E. students in New­ton County and the State of Ge­or­gia in the spring.”

Ac­cord­ing to Gar­ber, the HOPE project will be im­ple­mented in a part­ner­ship that in­cludes the New­ton County School Sys­tem, Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity, the New­ton County Community Part­ner­ship, Cov­ing­ton YMCA, The Cen­ter for Community Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning, Wash­ing­ton Street Community Cen­ter and the New­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce, Health Depart­ment, Board of Com­mis­sion­ers and Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion. Us­ing data col­lected from stu­dent and teacher sur­veys iden­ti­fied State Stan­dards where the great­est gaps and weak­nesses ex­isted and set goals and ob­jec­tives for the project us­ing the Com­pre­hen­sive School Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Pro­gram model de­vel­oped by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Sport and Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to all who helped out in this en­deavor and to Dr. Gar­ber for her tenac­ity in ap­ply­ing for this grant for the last three years,” said Joyce “Ev­ery­body’s hard work and co­op­er­a­tion paid off this last time, and I look for­ward to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this Health and PE grant for the next three years. It’s an honor and bless­ing to be re­warded this grant for the chil­dren, par­ents and staff of New­ton County Schools!”

“This grant moves us down the path of ed­u­cat­ing the whole child,” said Gary Mathews, Su­per­in­ten­dent of New­ton County Schools. “Healthy students make more suc­cess­ful learn­ers in our class­rooms.”

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