2019 Move2Learn Program Update
At RunningBrooke, we’re always looking ahead to maximize your impact and give Alexandria’s kids the tools they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. But while we focus on the future, it’s also crucial to survey the past year and all the progress we’ve made together. After all, last year’s successes are the foundation for achieving new heights in 2020. Check out what you made happen in 2019!
January: 3rd Annual Move2Learn Summit
Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Mike Kuczala, and Paul Zientarski spoke on the direct benefits and proven science of regular physical activity before, during, and after school as well as classroom strategies that attendees could take back and implement immediately. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, School Board members, members of the ACPS School Health Advisory Board, teachers, and community leaders attended. Teachers received 3 continuing education points.
February-November: Professional Development and Teacher Training
Our Move2Learn Program Director trained nearly a hundred ACPS teachers and staff (new, returning, elementary, middle, and high school) on ways to incorporate physical activity in classrooms and tight school spaces. With Move2Learn toolkits (perpetual fitness calendars, fitness cubes, clock posters, etc.) and the know-how to implement immediately, teachers are armed to prime the brains of their students so they are ready, willing, and able to learn.
March & October: Move2Learn Movement Challenges
These month-long challenges spanned across all 14 ACPS elementary schools and added 400,000 bursts of classroom movement. Each school was trained by RunningBrooke’s Move2Learn Program Director and armed with RunningBrooke’s Move2Learn toolkits. Throughout each month, teachers tracked their brain boosting physical activities. The schools that got their kids moving the most won prize money to purchase physical activity equipment for classrooms. Randomly selected teachers from each participating school won a prize to meet their classrooms’ movement needs.
Measurable results included:
- 97% of survey respondents said daily brain boosts helped students focus and were a positive addition to their classroom efficiency and structure
Here’s what the teachers had to say:
- “Perfect time to practice counting skills during brain boosts. Brain boosts made a huge (positive) difference.”
- “Kids enjoyed tracking progress; increasing movement each day; competing with themselves; setting and breaking their own records.”
March & November: Teacher Mini-Grants
RunningBrooke’s Teacher Mini-Grant program directly funds teachers’ classroom requests of up to $500 for creative and lasting movement-related materials. In 2019, Move2Learn Mini-Grants were awarded to 31 individual teachers across 14 schools to fund movement materials like stability balls, flexible seating, wiggle cushions, stretch bands, heart rate monitors, and running shoes.
What teachers are saying:
- “My students were actively engaged and learning new skills during indoor recess. For the remainder of the afternoon I noticed how much more students were able to focus on the task at hand. Our indoor recess now has many of the components of outdoor play!”
- “The unexpected positive outcomes were the excitement from the students to use the alternative seating. We were a little concerned that fifth graders might not use it because it wasn’t “cool” but that wasn’t the case. All the kids love it!”
August: Move2Learn Partner Grants
RunningBrooke awarded grants totaling $69,955.50 for the 2019-2020 academic year to 12 partners within ACPS, as well as to 6 community partners sparking learning with innovative before, during, and after school programs.
Take the sensory hallways at John Adams Elementary School, for example. These hallways will cultivate kinesthetic learning for children of all ages – from displays featuring the alphabet and counting numbers to more complex topics like the compass rose and angles. Giving kids an opportunity for movement outside the classroom, these hallways combine high-level thinking with fun age-appropriate fitness activities, so kids can refocus their brains.
Here’s what teachers are saying:
- “The hallway will meet the needs of all of our learners to get them active and learning at the same time. It will benefit so many kids for years to come. I personally thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
- “Learning to incorporate movement into their day gives our students a strategy for life. They are empowered. I truly believe that we are growing a generation of learners who understand the power of including movement into their days.”
Move2Learn Partner Grant Update: Of Pedals and Pages Café in ACPS Elementary Schools
We knew a good program when we saw one. Submitted by PE Teacher April Rodgers in 2018, the “Of Pedals and Pages Café” program installed stationary bikes across Ferdinand T. Day Elementary School. Students rode while reading. This program has been such a resounding success with students and teachers alike that ACPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings pledged to install bikes in every elementary school in the division!
Teachers and administrators are saying:
- “The idea is to use the powerful benefits of exercise to affect the academic performance. Students are more focused, more engaged, and exercise makes them feel good.”
- “When we have students who come here stressed or angry we find spending five to ten minutes on the bikes gets the frustration out and we often use them to prepare for the day. We’ve noticed a big difference – the students go into to class engaged and levels of concentration have improved.”
September: Four Mile Run Playground
The Four Mile Run Playground opened to thousands of neighborhood kids and families. After months of watching and waiting, kids raced to play, fanning out across the swings, slides, and make-believe canoes, frogs, and lily pads. It’s packed every time we stop by to check in! Now having a safe place to play, kids of all ages come to the playground and park to play, shoot hoops, and play futsal and enjoy natural landscape – these projects were completed in 2017 and 2018. Open to everyone, it’s sure to be an indispensable community space!
October: Mile Marker 10 Gala
Revelers left their running shoes at home and toasted ten years of mighty milestones celebrating RunningBrooke’s 10th anniversary. With good weather and wonderful crowd, we had a magical night under the stars with dinner, live music, exciting live auction items, and “runner’s high” libations.
It is with deep appreciation that we, the RunningBrooke board, staff, and family thank you for being such a big part of the movement revolution. Thousands of children’s lives are being transformed through brain boosting reading and stationary bike initiatives, an innovative “Mathletes” program that combines movement and learning, teacher mini grants, professional teacher trainings, and Move2Learn Toolkits! Cheers to the next ten years!