WCSD receives $750,000 five-year grant from DoDEA to develop ‘Cyclones Tactical Health and Well being’ programming | Schooling


WATERTOWN – The Department of Defense Education Activity has awarded the Watertown City School District a $ 750,000 five-year scholarship to develop skills and abilities in physical education and health sciences. This grant will provide the district with the college and career resources necessary to successfully build and / or expand the STEM program.

The program to be funded, known as “Cyclones Tactical Fitness and Health”, is the pre-kindergarten of the district by students of the 8th and self-motivation to promote work-life balance and general well-being.

Educational teams composed of health, exercise, and science teachers at grade levels will develop curriculum materials and lesson plans that engage students in relevant real-world problem-solving projects that focus on health sciences and physical wellbeing.

“Watertown City School District is extremely grateful for the DoDEA Fellowship in Cyclones Tactical Fitness and Health,” said Patricia B. LaBarr, principal, in a statement. “This scholarship focuses on equipping teenagers with improved fitness, health, wellness and work-life balance skills. This supports our district’s mission to promote lifelong learners and responsible citizens. “

Projects under the program will focus on a variety of health topics and employ a comprehensive, student-centered, exploratory learning model to develop students’ skills for sustainable learning and wellbeing. Allied Health Sciences career experience through learning activities, including professional visits, will enable students to gain early career experience. Involving Allied Health in community engagement events will showcase student learning while creating helpful connections for the community.

Tactical fitness and health clubs after school will support fitness and wellbeing while delivering academic, social, and developmental benefits. A community-wide planning mechanism will ensure that project efforts focus on culture-changing, impactful health and wellness activities, utilizing all available resources and expertise, and aligning the project with long-term sustainability.

Lisa J. Blank, director of the STEM programs, worked on this scholarship with Stacey Eger-Converse, assistant superintendent for teaching, with input from athletics and health instructors. She said this programming should be implemented this fall after a kick-off meeting with the Department of Defense Education Committee in early November. The grant’s activities have been compiled, although some things could be easily modified based on the recommendations of the Department of Defense.

No grants were awarded in 2020 due to COVID, so DoDEA allowed districts to update applications if they wanted. Ms. Blank said Watertown felt a need to update itself due to the changing teaching and learning conditions as a result of the pandemic.

“We made some changes to virtual learning to support some of the need to use technology in our courses to support all students,” she said. “We were thrown into a completely different world and the way we do things has definitely changed a lot as a result.”

When the district first drafted the application in Spring 2019, it was in the process of publishing New York State’s new physical education and health standards, so this grant will help implement those standards, Ms. Blank said.

The State Ministry of Education updated physical education learning standards 2020 are as follows:

– Standard 1: Demonstrates proficiency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.

– Standard 2: Applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.

– Standard 3: Demonstrates the knowledge and skills needed to achieve and maintain healthy levels of physical activity and fitness.

– Standard 4: Demonstrates responsible personal and social behavior that respects oneself and others.

– Standard 5: Recognizes the value of physical activity for general well-being, enjoyment, challenge, and / or self-expression.

– Standard 6: Identifies career opportunities and manages personal and community resources related to physical activity and fitness in order to achieve and maintain general well-being.

When the regional health planning organization Fort Drum released the results of their community survey on the general health of the community, Ms. Blank said the district then used much of that data to back up its narrative for this grant and was able to respond to the needs of the community to be clearly defined based on the health statistics that emerged from this report. She said it was important for the district to keep an eye on the health of the surrounding communities and use that information to educate its work.

DoDEA awarded $ 22 million to 21 scholarships as part of its 2020 cohort, which will serve more than 100,000 students in 13 states. DoDEA’s Education Partnership and Resources division is committed to ensuring that all military-affiliated K-12 students have access to quality educational opportunities by engaging in partnerships with school districts and professional organizations. The division provides evidence-based resources to school staff and stakeholders, and helps increase understanding and awareness of the unique challenges faced by students and families with military connections.

“This will provide some nice alternatives for kids and will focus more on personal fitness and wellbeing,” said Ms. Blank. “We play a lot of team sports and that’s important, but the need for personal fitness and well-being to achieve a healthy work-life balance over the long term is really important to this scholarship. There is a lot of stress in military life, as we know, and the idea is to support our students and families in this regard, as well as academically, because we need people trained in health sciences to support the needs of our communities. “

Given the challenges people are currently facing, Ms. Blank believes that this is a great time for people to start a career in health science and be healthier. She said the district is considering buying resources to support physical education classes as well as those career-focused courses such as courses in health, anatomy and physiology, the biological sciences that support, empower and give students more opportunity to those health careers.

“I came to the district on my second DoDEA grant in 2015,” said Ms. Blank. “I feel like we were able to achieve so much with DoDEA grant funding, it pioneered us and allowed us to really move forward and be a leader in STEM education.”

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