OGDEN -- The Ogden School District has been awarded a three-year, $2 million grant to improve district students' physical and nutritional education.
The district will use the funds, from the United States Department of Education, to add a part-time physical education specialist at each of its 14 elementary schools, and to add P.E. equipment at each district school that needs it.
All schools also will get resources to improve nutrition education, but the bulk of the resources will go to elementary schools, since junior high and high school program in the district already have P.E. teachers, equipment and health teachers, district officials said.
Elementary school students will get a minimum of 90 minutes of directed fitness curriculum each week, by grade. Classroom teachers whose students are in gym will use that 90 minutes to work together, as a grade-level group, to assess and plan for the needs of groups and individual student, based on assessment data.
"Not only will our students learn valuable lessons for healthy living, but just as importantly, all elementary teachers will now have additional time to meet as professional teams to develop learning plans for the success of each student," OSD Superintendent Brad Smith said.
"By supporting our teachers, who are working hard to implement innovative teaching methods and data driven instruction in the classroom, the district is focused on making certain each student is prepared to contribute as a highly-trained member of Utah's future workforce."
P.E. specialists at elementary schools will also lead organized activities during recess.
Ken Crawford, OSD director of athletics and support services, said it's a win/win/win situation.
"For one, it provides physical education instruction at the elementary level, which only a few of our schools have used their budget for," Crawford said. "Second, it will help with health and nutrition, something the students don't get now. And third, it allows time for classroom teachers to collaborate and improve the overall experience within core subjects. I think this is going to be a huge step in multiple areas, and will meet multiple needs."
The new program will be called SCOPE (Schools and Community for Physical Education).
Crawford said he still has a few questions about instruction options the grant will allow, but cannot get answers during the ongoing government shutdown.
The Ogden School District had 12,486 students enrolled as of Oct. 1.
Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.