Moving towards healthy habits


Photo by Natalie Gjermo

Seniors Eric Bromback and Mark Houle are improving their health in the weight room. "We are trying to find places either before school, or after school and during P.E. time. to get the most minutes of physical activity a student can have," said Deb Van Klei.

Megan Warbalow

More and more people in this country are becoming lazy and overweight. To solve this issue people are taking initiative to make more people, especially kids, interested in being active. The HealthyMOVES (Meaningful Opportunities for Vigorous Exercise Success) grant is working to find a way to make being active easier and more widely available.

HealthyMOVES is a federal grant that our physical education and health teachers applied for last April. We were awarded the grant in Oct. and it is worth $2 million over the course of three years. The grant is being put towards better instruction for our school’s health and physical education instructors, new equipment and a data program that will allow students to track their progress. Stillwater High School was 1 out of 60 schools in the nation that were awarded with this grant.

With this grant there are certain requirements that the government expects us to do in order to keep track of the progress of randomly selected students.

HealthyMOVES Coordinator Deb Van Klei said, “We have to do certain data collection points on the randomly selected student, and that starts in kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. The students have to do a couple of different things, like a survey, which ask about 5-7 questions about their vegetable and fruit intake and their food consumption. They have to do 6 fitness tests which they will do in P.E. class and they have to wear a pedometer for 24 hours a day for 7 days so that we can keep track of how active they are being.”

If the school keeps on track and records the reading of the students, then we will be able to use the money throughout the district. Students in the high school should see the positive changes that are coming from this grant in the near future.

“First, we will be improving our curriculum. We are going to look at our learning targets and focus them on scientific research and best practices for physical education. We are also looking to offer students more choices, more electives and try to make student meet the requirement of 60 mins of physical activity every day,” said Van Klei. “We are trying to find places either before school, or after school and during P.E. time. to get the most minutes of physical activity a student can have. Maybe it’s a biking club, training for a bike race or a triathlon to give the students the resources and the connections in the community to do these things. We live on the St. Croix River, I think our students should have the opportunity to Kayak and Canoe.”

The HealthyMOVES grant being put in place to make positive changes throughout the 3 years, and the students being chosen to be monitored are looking at it in a positive way as well.

Sophomore Sara Stickler said, “I was chosen at the beginning of the year to keep track of what I eat and how active I am for about a week. I have to do some surveys and keep a pedometer on to keep track of my steps throughout the day. I also got a free trial week to go to CrossFit.”

The main goal of the HealthyMOVES grant is to get kids active in any which, way or form. With the new equipment and activities being put in place,  Van Klei and others are hoping to get kids and teenagers interested in being active and have fun while they are doing it.