High School P.E. Gets Major Grant

The Long Beach Unified School District has earned a U.S. Department of Education grant of more than $1 million to create innovative fitness centers for students at seven high schools. Funding will go toward physical education equipment, teacher training and instructional materials. The three-year Physical Education for Progress grant will be implemented this fall at Cabrillo, Jordan, Millikan and Wilson high schools. The initial year’s funding of $468,000 will be followed by a second year of $285,000 and a third year of $261,000 for a total of more than $1 million. Second-year implementation will occur at Lakewood and Renaissance high schools, with Polytechnic High School scheduled for the third year. “We’re thrilled. This is a major boost to our physical education program,” said Joan Van Blom, physical education curriculum leader for the Long Beach Unified School District and a two-time Olympic rowing silver medalist. “It’s critical that we improve the physical health of our youngsters. The equipment and training provided through this grant will help students build aerobic capacity, muscle strength and healthy habits that provide lifelong benefits.” LBUSD, which has named its grant implementation “Beach Fit,” will use the funding to purchase spin bikes, rowing machines, exercise mats, aerobic steps, hand weights, body composition scales and other equipment. The equipment will help to reduce students’ down time during physical education classes while increasing the amount of time spent on vigorous physical activity. The district’s five Nationally Board Certified physical education instructors will collaborate with teachers at each of the high schools.