In late 2009, the Delavan-Darien School District was awarded a $1 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant to improve its physical education program and better promote healthy lifestyles.
The U.S. Department of Education grant, given to just 73 schools nation-wide, will ensure district students are more active and encourage them to make healthy choices. The district's effort, called “Hooked for Life,” should also help students do better in the classroom.
“Research shows that kids who are more physically fit do better academically,” said Deb Ludlow, physical education teacher and grant coordinator for the district. “When we look at the implication that will have on our district, it’s really profound.”
The grant will help district health and fitness educators rewrite curriculum to incorporate best practices, techniques and programming made available by new equipment acquired through the grant.
Upgrades to the district’s physical education program include:
- New state-of-the-art fitness equipment, including weights and cardio machines, at Phoenix Middle School.
- Upgrading the fitness center at Delavan-Darien High School to include more than 25 new cardio machines, free-motion weights and a rock-climbing wall.
- Creation of a high-ropes course and a running and fitness trail on the campus between the high school and middle school.
- Purchasing mountain bikes, kayaks, canoes, snowshoes and portable disc-golf equipment to add an Outdoor Education component to the curriculum.
- Addition of interactive dance systems and incorporating workouts into physical education classes
- Fitness areas open and staffed before- and after-school
Teachers in the Delavan-Darien Physical Education and Health Department believe that once someone is hooked on a healthy habit, it will be a healthy habit for life.
“Our goal with all of this is to really get kids hooked on life-long activities so they do them throughout their lives,” Ludlow said. “The more exposure they have to them, the more it will help.”
Fitness educators will monitor the amount of physical activity for the students and expect to see an increase in the amount of time kids are exercising both in school and at home, Ludlow said.
Also, more before- and after-school fitness opportunities will be available, and there will be a nutrition component that will aim to offer healthier snack and food choices at all levels.
“We want to get kids up and moving, make healthy choices with what they’re eating and develop positive healthy lifestyles,” Ludlow said. “In the long-term, this is going to change the culture of our school community.”
District officials are exploring options for community members to use and benefit from the new equipment.
About the grant
The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to local education agencies and community-based organizations to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards. Funds may be used to provide equipment and support to enable students to participate actively in physical education activities. Funds also may support staff and teacher training and education.
Community partners that have agreed to provide services and help the Hooked for Life project achieve its goals include:
• Delavan Flying Dragon’s Martial Arts Center
• Delbrook Golf Course
• AKF Martial Arts, Delavan
• Four Lakes Athletic Club, Elkhorn
• Wall Crawlers Rock Climbing, Whitewater
• Delavan Parks and Recreation
• Dr. Joel Sperling
• Delavan Lake Yacht Club
• Mercy Health System
• Curves of Delavan
• Delavan Lanes