Fond du Lac
School District
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PEP's Mindfully Active Community (MAC)
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How did this PEP Grant get started?

Fond du Lac School District was the recipient of 1 of 16 grants that were awarded across the country by the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) after several school district staff and CESA 6 employees designed, wrote, and submitted a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students. The grant award in the amount of $1,250,942 will be disbursed over the next three years to initiatives that will enhance nutrition efforts and wellness opportunities across the District.

Physical activity and proper nutrition are two of the main components contributing to an individual’s overall wellness. Unfortunately, this is something individuals learn when faced with a health challenge, but it’s not necessarily something that is taught or imparted to children or young adults. Oftentimes, we take this “wellness” for granted never knowing that having been mindful of these factors at a younger age, we may be giving ourselves a better chance for a healthy life. With that educational objective as its mission, the Fond du Lac School District proposed to serve all of its 7,340 students with their Mindfully Active Community (MAC) project.
Photo of Dru Mitchell

Grant Project Director

Dru Mitchell, a teacher with the Fond du Lac School District since 1988 (first in special education and then joining the physical education department in 1990), will serve as the PEP Grant Project Director. Mr. Mitchell, who has served the District at both the middle school and high school levels, will assume primary responsibility for overall management of all grant implementation and evaluation activities. These activities will include initiating, expanding, or enhancing physical education programs, including before school, after school, and summer programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Who does the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant serve?
The Fond du Lac School District PEP grant is serving approximately 7500 K-12 students directly and families of those students indirectly. Those served include students attending: Fond du Lac High School - Grades 9-12; Sabish, Theisen, and Woodworth Middle Schools and STEM Institute - Grades 6-8; and Chegwin, Evans, Lakeshore, Parkside, Pier, Riverside, Roberts, Rosenow and Waters Elementary Schools, and STEM Academy.
What are the PEP Grant's goals?

The yearly goals include:

  • Increasing by 10% the number of students who consume two or more servings of fruit per day and three or more servings of vegetables per day.
  • Increasing by 10% the number of students who meet the age-appropriate standard for the “Healthy Fitness Zone” in 5 out of 6 assessment areas.
  • Increasing by 10% the percentage of students who engage in 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
  • Reducing gaps and disparities in health outcomes between student subgroups.
  • Improving student self-regulation, social, and emotional skills through increased physical activity and improved fitness and nutrition.
  • Improving math and literacy achievement because of increased physical activity.
  • Reviewing and revising our district wellness policies to reflect research-based best practices and Federal guidelines.
  • Increasing our School Health Index scores each year by 10%.
  • Increasing our organizational capacity to increase physical activity and nutrition outcomes for students.
  • Initiating research-based activities that support equitable health outcomes among diverse student populations.
  • Updating our physical education curriculum to reflect all Academic Standards for Physical Education, and include balanced instruction and assessment in the three domains of learning.
  • Completing professional development that is targeted to achieve the goals of the grant and have at least 85% of trainees report high satisfaction with the training.

What type of progress is being made with the PEP Grant?
PEP Progress Chart

The accompanying chart, PEP Grant – How Are We Doing?, outlines the baseline percentage, target percentage, and current (achieved) percentage of students for four of the goals that have been established by the PEP Grant committee as essential factors in creating a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Fitness Zone refers to the level of fitness whereas a student is at a level considered not to be at risk within six particular health components which include: cardiovascular, muscular strength anterior, muscular strength posterior, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.

The School Health Index (SHI) is determined by the number of modules successfully implemented within each school. The measurable modules are:

  1. school health and safety policies and environment,
  2. health education,
  3. physical education and other physical activity programs, and
  4. nutrition services.

The SHI scorecards showed significant growth. In 2016, 13 schools scored a total of 13 modules in the high category. The high category is one of three possible ratings (High 81-100%, Medium 41-80% and Low 0-40%) that a school is designated based on number of measurable modules actively implemented. In 2017, the same schools scored a total of 34 modules in the high category.

Other Pertinent Data

The baseline for disparities in health outcomes for students as measured by consuming at least five fruits and vegetables per day found that gender, academic grade, and overweight status were not significantly different. Physical activity disparities were significant among gender and weight where 27% of males were active as compared to 13% of females and 23% of normal weight students were physically active as compared to 14% of overweight students.

The PEP committee and coordinators are working with the District’s equity coach to begin identifying barriers to physical activity and nutrition with subgroups within our district.

Student behavior and academic data are not complete at this time, however, it is significant to note that students suffering from depressed feelings decreased by 9%, and students viewing harassment and bullying as a problem decreased by 4%. Additionally, the attendance data is not complete at this time, however, it is interesting to note, that some students that were chronically late for school began showing up early for morning intramurals at the middle school level.

The District’s wellness policies were reviewed, updated, and completed.

The secondary PE staff started an intramural program that has offered a total of 268 hours of physical activity to secondary students this year. An additional 90 hours of physical activity have been planned for at the high school level for the 2017-2018 school year. Each school has hosted family fitness events and the local Recreation Department has sponsored numerous family events as a grant partner including opening one of the pools a week early for two nights of school-specific free family swims.
Related Curriculum

The curriculum committee has started using various tools to identify some areas to address relative to curriculum. A part-time nutritionist was hired to review how, when, and where students are receiving nutrition messages in the K-12 setting. The nutritionist has made several recommendations to improve both explicit and implicit messages about nutrition. There has been shared dialogue with other districts that have very current comprehensive curricula and assessments developed.

One of the District’s elementary schools has taken the lead to become our first Active Core 4+School. That school will then be a model for other schools within the District to follow. Middle school students have participated in screen-time presentations by a local physician and elementary students received hands on nutritional instruction through several outlets including a local health care company, the UW-Extension, and local master gardeners.

Research-based SPARK curriculum at the elementary level and SPARK Balance My Day nutritional curriculum at the elementary and middle school level has been implemented.

Students are experimenting with wearable technology utilizing POLAR A360s at the secondary level and Fitstep PRO pedometers at the elementary level. Students and staff are both energized by the new equipment and programming, and excited for the progress made this year.

PEP Grant Committee

The PEP grant is advised by a committee entitled Living Well FDL comprised of various wellness professionals. Another objective of this committee was to form a sustainability committee to ensure continuity of efforts to increase youth activity and nutrition in our community when the grant expires.

Capacity indicators relative to the PEP grant committee identified strength areas as: a learning culture, innovation, ability to lead change, staff quality and credibility, shared beliefs and values, and use of data for decisions. Areas for growth that were identified include: talent management and volunteer recruitment.

Fond du Lac
School District
Administration Center
Address: 72 West 9th Street, WI 54935
Phone: 920-929-2900 |
Pride • Achievement • Growth
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