Visit Greenberg Elementary School in Fresno, California, and you’ll see students, parents and staff on campus participating in … Zumba class. Together, they move to music and share laughs while tracking their physical activity.
Greenberg Elementary is one of many K-8 schools that participates in Fire Up Your Feet, a core program of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. It aims to increase physical activity before, during and after the school day by offering resources to schools that include an online activity tracker, an active-schools fundraising organizer, and awards-based activity challenges.
These activity challenges are hosted twice a year and invite schools to track, for a month, the minutes they spend walking, biking and doing other types of physical activity. Winning schools use award money to purchase physical education and sports equipment, install bike racks, or support other physical activity programs. Through Zumba classes and other heart-pumping activities, Greenberg Elementary recently gained recognition as the Northern California school champion in this spring’s Fire Up Your Feet challenge.
Schools are eligible to win awards in several categories, including most overall participation, most inspiring “School Champion” story, most walking, most recess activity, and more. In total, more than 100 awards were distributed to participating schools in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Metro Atlanta, Oregon, Southwest Washington, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Visit the Fire Up Your Feet website to learn more about the program and view the lists of winners.
How are schools and their communities integrating health and physical activities into their schedules?
Here are some success story highlights:
- At Ross Elementary School in San Diego, California, the bike rack was often empty. Since a Safe Routes to School coordinator became involved, the interest in biking has increased so much that the principal is now trying to implement a biking program during PE class.
- At Cress View Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado, their school champion promoted biking, leading to the school breaking the record for highest percentage of students and staff biking to school in their history.
- In Kailua, Hawaii, Ka’elepulu Elementary School’s champion created a running club and helped integrate a new recess program that provides guidance to the kids and allows them to make safe, healthy choices.
- White Oak Elementary School in Sugar Hill, Georgia, built a playground track and sponsors a communitywide 5K fun run and health and wellness expo.
- Those at Edgewood Elementary School in Maryland enjoy extra recess time, extra dance time, extra active brain breaks in the classroom and extra walks.
- At Rogue River Elementary School in Rogue River, Oregon, their coordinator organized Fire Up Your Feet Friday, during which parents recruited co-workers to pledge to be physically active at the same time all of their elementary school students were physically active.
- In Vancouver, Washington, the York Elementary School community focuses daily on conversations about health and movement.
- Parents participate in Seaton Elementary School’s bike-and-walk-to-school challenge in Washington, D.C.
You can use these ideas as inspiration to start your own physical activity programs and get your school involved with Fire Up Your Feet.