Fletcher Falcons Fire Up for Crossfit
In February 2017, Matt Hoganson, dean of students at Fletcher Community School in Aurora, Colorado, launched a new crossfit program as a way to supplement the types of physical activity opportunities offered at school. Since students were only getting 45 minutes of PE class each week, Mr. Hoganson wanted to figure out a way to give students more chances to be physically active outside of class. With the help of a grant from the district health coordinator, Mr. Hoganson was able to get certified in kids crossfit and start offering crossfit classes before school three times a week. The program was piloted with a group of 20 kids, and by the spring it had expanded to serve 40-60 kids four days a week.
With the crossfit program exploding in popularity, the Fire Up Your Feet Challenge was a natural fit. Mr. Hoganson signed up and started tracking the crossfit participants’ progress, monitoring how Fletcher was doing compared to other schools in Colorado week by week.
“When I heard about Fire Up Your Feet, I thought it sounded very exciting. We’re always up for a challenge. I thought it would be a good idea to start tracking what we were already doing with crossfit and find out how much progress and growth we were making in terms of students’ physical activity level,” said Mr. Hoganson.
Kids fill up at the water station after the run and after the daily workout. Instructors stress the importance of hydrating with non-sugary beverages.
In the crossfit program, students earn different colored bracelets as they progress to higher levels of crossfit proficiency, similar to a martial arts colored belt system. “Kids were determined to show up to training before school because they wanted to earn their next band and wear it with pride around school. That helped market the program because other students would see them wearing it,” said Mr. Hoganson.
Students learn a new yoga pose daily and add it to their daily routine.
For students at Fletcher, which is a highly diverse school with a majority of students for whom English is a second language, getting to be involved in something as unique as crossfit has been a rewarding experience. “It’s totally new for them, which adds so much more. They’re doing something different that they can go home and tell their parents about,” said Mr. Hoganson.
During the Spring Activity Challenge, Mr. Hoganson talked to students about Fire Up Your Feet and kept them updated on how other schools were doing on the leaderboard. Some of the students wanted to track their physical activity at home to help boost the school’s total, so Mr. Hoganson created activity booklets for at-home crossfit practice that the students could then keep track of.
Fletcher students’ commitment to being physically active paid off, as the school took home the School Champion Award in Colorado in recognition of Mr. Hoganson’s efforts.
Now, Fletcher is in the process of starting a yoga program to include more students who are hesitant about the intense exercise component of crossfit but still want to the chance to be active in the morning. The award money won through Fire Up Your Feet will help support a teacher to take a kids’ yoga certification class and to purchase yoga mats and equipment.