HARRISBURG – Gov. Edward G. Rendell challenged Pennsylvania schools to help students make healthy choices through the “Governor’s Fitness Challenge.”
Schools will compete for three, $5,000 grants for equipment to promote physical activity — such as gym and playground equipment — or nutrition — like vending machines featuring healthy snacks.
“It is vital that we teach kids about the importance of leading a balanced life by eating nutritious food and staying active,” Rendell said. “I want schools and students to take part in the challenge so that, ultimately, they will help develop a healthier Pennsylvania.”
The Governor opened registration for all schools, and teachers must visit the challenge’s Web site to register by Dec.1.
Beginning Jan. 16, students will record their minutes of activity and convert them to miles traveled using a conversion tool provided in challenge materials. Their class will then use their collective miles to chart their way across Pennsylvania, stopping at historic Pennsylvania landmarks along the way. Each week schools will update their mileage online and the top five schools will be shown weekly. The three winning schools will be announced on April 30.
“Converting minutes of activity will allow students to receive credit for participation in various forms of activity — not just running, walking or biking,: said Secretary of Education Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak. “Students can dance, swim, play soccer — any type of activity is encouraged, because our hope is to see as many students as possible get involved.”
The walking paths provided for teachers include lessons that are in line with the history, geography and science and technology state academic standards so they can easily be incorporated into a teacher’s lesson plans.
Winning schools — schools charting the most miles/average daily membership — will be selected to receive a $5,000 grant to buy equipment that will promote physical activity or nutrition, such as gym/playground equipment or vending machines featuring healthy snacks.
The Governor’s Challenge is a joint effort of the Pennsylvania departments of Education, Health, Transportation, Agriculture, and Conservation and Natural Resources and is a tool for Pennsylvania schools to use to teach kids about the commonwealth’s rich resources and history, while encouraging overall wellness and increased activity.