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Fitness program has other benefits for students

Fitness program has other benefits for students



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WEST VALLEY CITY -- In the Gold Medal Schools program, students learn about nutrition and fitness. Many schools have their students walk every day with teachers. Now some of those schools are noticing other benefits to academics and behavior.

The principal of Granite School District's Gearld Wright Elementary, Marilyn Laughlin, says teachers are noticing less fighting and bullying.

"When they are out walking it's an ideal time for different students to walk up and talk about a concern or friction that might be happening with another student. And they can work it out as they are walking in a nice atmosphere where there's no pressure," she says.

"Recess sometimes was just a time to fight or waste their time. This is taking charge of that time," she adds.

Wright says students also get back into the classroom refreshed and ready to work again.

"They take this break, this nice walk out in the air whether it's hot or cold, and when they come back they come in refreshed and ready to get back to their language arts or their math," she explains.

Other teachers say they have noticed a boost in academics since joining the program. On the Gold Medal Schools website, a testimonial from an Academy Park Elementary School teacher in the Granite School District points out how test scores improved in his sixth-graders after they started the program.

A physical education specialist with the Jordan School District told KSL they may even study whether test scores improve by emphasizing fitness in the Gold Medal Schools program.

Other studies have shown there is a connection between fitness and academics.

"I just think there's a school-wide emphasis on feeling and being our best. That helps our confidence and helps our students be more success-driven because they are trying hard and doing their best," said Wright.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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