MUSD PE Department is Making Huge Strides

By Jaime Brown, PEP Grant Coordinator: TSA PE Health Nutrition

This is MUSD’S third year participating in the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, SHAPEN Project (Student Health Advanced with Physical Education and Nutrition). PEP is a highly competitive federally funded grant program aimed at increasing student health while enhancing Physical Education (PE) teachers’ knowledge and instructional strategies in nutrition, health, and PE.

MUSD has been privileged to initiate, expand, and enhance new activities and services enjoyed by our students through PEP, including curriculum, instructional supplies, sports equipment, and district wide events. Adopted curriculums include SPARK PE and Dairy Council of California, which are used by our PE teachers in all grade levels; and, CATCH, which is an activity and nutrition based curriculum implemented in our after-school programs. Additional activity based programs MUSD PE students now engage in include: (1) The First Tee of California National Schools Program [golf], (2) USA Rugby, (3) US Tennis Association Net Generation, and (4) Play Out Fitness. Our partnership with Madera County Public Health and University of California Cooperative Extension has played a vital role in staff trainings and successful implementation of student focused PEP Grant interventions.

Our community has had the privilege to participate in events that focus on physical activity, safety, and nutrition so all Maderans have the opportunity to role model healthy lifestyles to our students. This includes annual Walk to School events that have been established at Cesar Chavez, Millview, Sierra Vista, and Virginia Lee Rose Elementary Schools. Because of their success, Walk to School events will be introduced to students and their communities at Alpha, James Madison, and Washington Elementary Schools this school year. Also, School Health Fairs have become reputable events that provide students, parents, and our community with resources that focus on the WHOLE health of Madera’s children. Participating schools include James Monroe, Lincoln, Millview, Sierra Vista, Virginia Lee Rose, and Washington Elementary Schools.

In order to continuously receive grant funding for three consecutive years, MUSD is required to measure and record group results on daily physical activity via pedometers (devices that count the number of steps taken per day) and assess student knowledge of PE and nutrition standards. Additionally, MUSD must assess and report fitness levels and food choices of MUSD’s students during two assessment windows per school year.

Some highlights of MUSD PEP Grant interventions after two years of implementation and assessments include: (1) A 7% increase in the number of students who engage in daily physical activity, (2) a 9% increase in the number of students who meet at least 5 out of 6 state physical fitness tests in grades 1-12, (3) a 23% increase in the number of students who achieve age-appropriate cardiovascular fitness levels, (4) a 13% increase in the number of students who are identified as maintaining a healthy weight, and (5) a 88% increase in the number of students who participate in physical activity opportunities provided by the district. In addition, all elementary students receive regular activity breaks in the classroom,  to reset the mind in order to enhance memory, recall, and attention; and, all students receive standards based PE curriculum from credentialed PE teachers where 95% of their teachers have identified increased knowledge and best practices in PE via annual surveys recorded by a third-party evaluator.

PE professional development opportunities provided by MUSD and outside the valley have led to quality PE instruction and PE teacher recognition. After Armando Lua, PE teacher at James Madison Elementary, and Scott Townsend, PE teacher at Berenda Elementary received We Believe Champion awards, two MUSD PE teachers were nominated for CAHPERD (California Association of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance) teachers of the year. The two nominees include Kiley Hansen as CAHPERD Middle School PE Teacher of the Year and Scott Townsend as CAHPERD Elementary PE Teacher of the Year.

MUSD’s PE program strives to create healthy futures through the promotion of physical activities, healthy choices, and positive social development. We believe that All students can learn better when empowered to make healthy choices that involve nutrition, physical activity, mindset, and social skills.

Should you have any questions about the grant or data collection process, desire to serve as a member of the Madera Unified School District Wellness Committee, or desire to serve as a member in your child’s School Health Council, please contact your school site.


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