KIPP DC-Heights Academy Students and Teachers Seize the Day for Fun and Physical Activity
For students who live in urban areas like Washington DC, it can be difficult to find space to run around, play sports, or be physically active outside. At KIPPDC-Heights Academy, a school in southeast DC with a student population that is 96% African American, the challenge of having limited space was no match for students’ enthusiasm to rally around physical activity and take home the 1st Place Award in the Spring 2015 Fire Up Your Feet Challenge.
KIPPDC-Heights Academy physical education instructor Jonathan McSwain first heard about Fire Up Your Feet at a health and wellness seminar with Kaiser Permanente. Intrigued by the idea of promoting physical activity and being able to earn awards, McSwain led the school’s participation in the program for the first time in the fall of 2014.
“With October being National Walk to School Month, everyone at school was already excited about walking and biking to school. It was easy to continue the momentum and keep pumping up the challenge all month long,” said McSwain.
Students and staff were so enthusiastic that it was a no-brainer to participate again this spring. Students were already excited about being physically active, especially because the school was recently able to expand PE class into a gym area, whereas previously PE classes had taken place in an old cafeteria.
“Physical activity is so important to Heights Academy students. Walking, jump roping, playing tag, and playing sports in PE class helps them get the wiggles out, giving them the ability to better concentrate on their studies and establishing an early love of being physically active,” said McSwain.
McSwain took advantage of the resources available through the Fire Up Your Feet website, such as info sheets sample email blasts, to spread the word to students and staff. Classroom teachers got involved and helped remind students to fill out their trackers.
Thanks to students’ and teachers’ commitment to physical activity, Heights Academy brought home the 1st Place Award and two Breakout Awards for a total of $1,600. The school plans to use the award funds to purchase new gymnastics and tumbling equipment and resources for its PE classes and to support the presidential physical fitness challenge.