HealthyMOVES program begins

Andrea Rustad

Bridge to Excellence (BtE) is focused on addressing the academic, social, emotional and physical needs of each of the districts students.  The BtE’s new plan is already in the works.

BtE’s plan includes numerous action steps related to student health and wellness.  From incorporating more physical activity breaks into the day to implementing best practices in physical activity and nutrition measures.  This new action plan is called HealthyMOVES.

The HealthyMOVES initiative has actually been in the works for more than three years, when physical education and health teachers first submitted an application for the federal grant. The work they had begun served as the basis of the action steps in the BtE plan, which was developed last spring and is in its first year of implementation right now.

There are some new things that will come about from BtE. At the elementary schools, plans are underway to add art and world language instruction in the coming years. There are also plans to expand online learning opportunities and provide more flexible scheduling options for students at the high school.

Students will also see an increased use of technology in the classroom through an expanded Bring Your Own Technology program.

Teachers will be updating the curriculum to ensure students have the most relevant and up-to-date information, and they will be working closely with students to identify their passions and make learning more engaging and fun.

“It’s really about helping our students become more creative, collaborative and real-world ready,” said Community Engagement Coordinator Carissa Keister.

The objectives are focused on students but teachers and parents are certainly impacted by the plan as well.

“In order to provide the best learning to our students, our teachers need ongoing training, coaching and support,” said Keister.

There are also action steps in the plan focused on getting parents more involved and engaged in their children’s learning.  There are even steps in the plan to get the community more involved through things like mentoring and volunteering.

HealthyMOVES has begun fitness testing in District-834 schools and have a group of students wearing pedometers to measure their fitness levels. In the coming months, teachers will be working to develop lessons in nutrition and physical fitness.

Overall, there are some changes students and families are already seeing as a result of BtE.  There is a new structure for parent/teacher conferences, focusing on student goal-setting.   Clear goals, written in kid-friendly terms, that explain to students what they are expected to learn in each lesson.

Ongoing measurements will be taken to determine what skills students have mastered and in what areas they need more work.  More support for mental health issues and safer, more secure school buildings.

HealthyMOVES is a big plan that is already starting to change things for District-834.  As time goes on students, teachers and parents will start to see more and more changes that will be affecting the overall educational experience in District-834.