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In this section of the website, we'll share information about noteworthy achievements, District-wide events, or timely news items.

Fond du Lac High School Staff and Students Learning the Ropes

Simon Sinek, leadership guru and Columbia University professor, says there are big differences between a venture and an adventure. Many ventures fail, but not adventures. At the Fond du Lac School District, students participating in adventure courses, learn so much more beyond the physical benefits of exercise.

Since 2008, Fond du Lac High School has had an indoor climbing wall and indoor ropes course. This has provided students with the opportunity to demonstrate responsibility, encourage classmates, protect themselves through selecting healthy risks, demonstrate respect under pressure, demonstrate commitment to problem solve, and protect classmates in vulnerable positions (such as being 20 feet off the ground). In the 2017-18 school year, outdoor low ropes and high ropes courses were added to the high school’s physical education program thanks to funds from the 2016 Carol M. White PEP grant.

A person’s adventure education usually begins at one of two levels—overestimation OR underestimation of their skills. To assist in realigning these “perceived assessments” with their actual skills, Fond du Lac High School students begin their adventure lessons by learning more about the tasks and challenges that they will be asked to perform. In most cases, when faced with an unfamiliar situation, students often question whether they will be able to be successful. In ropes courses, they soon learn that the new tasks will not depend on individual skill, but rather on group processes. Students who have concerns about their classmates’ performances, experience heightened awareness of the importance of peer relationships in the learning process.

Students transition to the next phase of the experience by seeking to find their place in the group. Upon finding their place and discovering their role within the group, students tend to become more expressive and open to sharing their emotions. As the group begins accomplishing challenges together, they seek to assess and safely conquer additional challenges.  Finally, as students reflect on their growth as individuals and as  a group, they experience a marked increase in their self-confidence. 

Gene Kranz, flight director of Apollo 13, led Johnson Space Center with the mantra that “failure is not an option.”  That mindset is one of the primary principles behind adventure education because it provides students with the self-confidence to move through difficult challenges and build trust in their abilities as well as others’ abilities to support them.


PEP Grant Benefiting Fond du Lac School District Elementary Students on Many Fronts

Studies indicate that children who participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity are more alert, better at self-regulation, and experience improved moods and memory. To that end, it’s clear that many of Fond du Lac School District’s elementary school students are beginning to benefit on a variety of levels beyond their physical education (PE) classes because of the Carolyn M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant that the District received in 2016. 

There are two PEP grant components that are taking shape within our schools. The first is called the Active Core 4+. This component involves increasing physical activity within the regular classroom with positive gains that take place outside the school walls. An Active Core 4+ School creates ways for students to get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

The steps to becoming an Active School begin with developing a site-based committee of staff, parents, and community members. These individuals or groups then work to support opportunities to be active and create a culture within the school that focuses on increasing physical activity.  Once a school’s committee is formed, they continually evaluate the school’s strengths and areas needing improvement within the Active Core 4+ school, within the home, and throughout the school neighborhood. Rosenow was the first school to become an Active Core 4+ school in Spring 2017 and Evans, Pier, Riverside, and Roberts joined Rosenow in the 2017-18 school year.

In reviewing current models, most school campuses take about three years to become fully active. Many of the schools in Wisconsin that have become Active Core 4+ schools have discovered that student behavior and academic performance have improved because of the body and brain connection that physical activity affords. It’s interesting to note that in a 2-year study, Active Core 4+ schools: increased actual activity time in a regularly scheduled PE class by 88%; increased physically active regular classroom participation - 294%; increased before and after school opportunities for students to be active - 65%; increased active recess strategies - 167%; and increased participation of physical activity at home and in the community - 380%.

The other PEP grant component that all third grade classes are undertaking is the Y5210 curriculum. The Y5210 curriculum was developed by the YMCA to help kids and their families get healthier. It is meant to encourage children to make educated choices in order to decrease their risk of obesity and improve their health. Y5210 daily program breaks down like this: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (at least); 2 hours or less of “screen time”; 1 hour or more of physical activity; and 0 sugar sweetened drinks a day.

Recomendations for these very specific guidelines come from the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research shows that:

•     25% of kids calories come from snacking. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption helps fight obesity and other serious diseases later in life such as diabetes and cancer.

•     Watching 4 hours of TV increases a person’s risk of obesity by 21%.

      33% of kids are obese and physical activity is an important way to reduce this number.

•     Drinking sugar sweetened beverages can add 25 pounds of a person’s weight gain over the course of a year.

Although the focus of these strategies is aimed at youth, all people can benefit from these guidelines regardless of their age.

PEP Grant Gives Middle School Students Access to Numerous Exercise Options

Stationary bikes, ellipticals, human-powered treadmills, TRX suspension training, balance and flexibility equipment, and a wide assortment of strength and functional exercising options - sounds like a fitness center, right?  Actually it’s fitness equipment that students at Sabish, Theisen, and Woodworth Middle Schools now have access to right in their schools, thanks to the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant that was awarded to the Fond du Lac School District in 2016.  

In addition to utilizing the fitness equipment during their PE classes, students have access before, during, and after school through various opportunities such as intramurals, brain break opportunities, and a more structured strength and conditioning program. Steven Knuth, strength and conditioning coach and owner of TNT, met with middle school staff to instruct them in the proper functional fitness techniques in order to ensure safe and appropriate use of the new equipment.

A primary source of the monies for the equipment purchase was funding from the PEP grant. Additionally, the Cardinal Alumni Association contributed over $23,000.00 toward the strengthening equipment.

Another component being explored by the middle school students goes beyond the physical benefits of physical fitness.  Dr. Heather Schmidt, Agnesian/SSM Health, has presented to mostly all middle school students strong evidence regarding the overwhelming connection between exercise and the brain and how it improves attention, learning, and mood. Dr. Schmidt will complete the presentations to the final groups on May 17. 

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FDL High School Seeking Distinguished Alumni Nominations
Did your Goodrich or Fond du Lac High School class get together for a class reunion over the past several months? Was there a former classmate who impressed you 
Fond du Lac
School District
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72 West 9th Street, Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Phone: 920-929-2900 |
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