State-of-the-art exercise equipment headed to high schools |

State-of-the-art exercise equipment headed to high schools

Cindy Ramunno
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyA weight room at Eagle Valley High School has been funded through a grant that focuses on students physical education.

EAGLE COUNTY – It’s Eagle County School District grant writer Melinda Gladitsch’s job to find funding for student programs. So when there was an opportunity to get money for high school physical education programs, Gladitsch went after it. Through a grant provided by the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, the district is now implementing “Eagle County Fit.” The goal of the program, according to Gladitsch’s grant, is to improve student fitness.After winning the grant last fall, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain students are now enjoying new, state-of-the-art exercise fitness equipment.Gladitsch’s grant said because of Colorado’s bleak budget outlook, the district would not be able to make major changes to its physical education programs. The district decided it need new exercise equipment after students and P.E. teachers were surveyed and student fitness data was analyzed, Gladitsch’s grant said. P.E. teachers also say they have problems measuring student fitness. One reason is because the district hasn’t set standards. In the district’s survey results, the main concern of high school P.E. teachers was the overall fitness and healthy lifestyles of all students. P.E. is a requirement for incoming freshmen at both Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high schools. But in many of those cases, students were not achieving basic fitness levels.

Fitness clubConcerning equipment, the high school programs lacked what was necessary to dramatically reform the P.E. program. With new Cybex exercise equipment, teachers can create programs that improve student fitness year after year. The grant money will be spent on staff development, instruction in the cognitive concepts that relate to fitness, creating fitness plans for each student and nutrition. “First and foremost, it provides another opportunity to stay in shape and take care of your physical and metal health,” Eagle Valley High School principal Mark Strakbein says. “Second, it provides additional fitness classes for students who would use this type of equipment compared to the traditional free weights.” Fred Koetternitz, athletic director at Battle Mountain, agrees, he says.”The best benefit is the availability of full-circuit exercise equipment to all students,” Koetteritz says. Staff members at both schools are raving about the equipment, and they’re not the only ones. Students also are elated.

Eagle Valley junior Maurice Mitchell, who plays football, basketball and throws for track, says he is excited to be in a school that has additional equipment to make him stronger.”I think our new room is going to provide a good balance between free weights and selectorized machines. I think it will help students develop endurance, along with power,” Mitchell says.’More engaged’P.E. teachers will be trained in advanced fitness assessment procedures in which they can measure muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular health, flexibility and body composition. Teachers will then train students in the same techniques.Teachers will also be trained in research-based strategies to improve the level of instruction in their classrooms and classroom management strategies using the fitness centers as a backdrop.The circuit design of the fitness centers in each high school will assure that students rotate from resistive machines to cardiovascular stations in an orderly fashion. Teachers will also learn how to assess the activity levels of students through heart-rate monitors and other pieces of technology.

Director of Secondary Education Mike Gass has visited schools and says the new fitness plans are being implemented.”I’m seeing kids more engaged and putting more time into physical fitness,” he says.As for Gladitsch, Gass says she is a “huge” asset to the district as a grant writer. “She goes after some big ticket items. And when she has her sights set out on a particular grant, she gets it done,” Gass says. Vail, Colorado

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