PEP to Get Kids Fit

Long Beach Unified School District has won a $399,771 Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grant to provide teacher training in effective physical education practices and new equipment. Of more than 500 applicants, LBUSD is one of only two school districts in California, one of three on the West Coast and one of 18 in the U.S. to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Half of the grant will train 675 elementary teachers, 85 middle school teachers and 40 high school teachers here. Half of the funds will purchase equipment that teachers will use with their students, such as balls, hoops, cones, bean bags and parachutes. LBUSD, one of the few districts in the state to have a district-level curriculum leader for physical education, was selected for its strong support for physical education. The district surveyed student health data to demonstrate the need for greater physical activity and has piloted a similar training program. PEP schools will include Keller, King-Edison, Edison, Lee, Lincoln, McKinley, Muir, Tucker, Butler, Tincher, DeMille, Franklin, Hamilton, Hill, Hoover, Hughes, Lindbergh, Marshall, Stephens and Washington. Additional schools will be chosen to participate. Joan Van Blom is project director.