BOILING SPRINGS — South Middleton School District Monday received $22,250 in grant money from the Partnership for Better Health to implement two new physical education programs next school year.
The district will use about $8,300 in grant money on the SPARKS curriculum, which is short for Sports Play and Active Recreation for Kids, said Doris Ditzler, senior grants director for the Carlisle-based partnership.
“They wanted to be updated on the most recent techniques,” she said of district staff. “I applaud them for reaching out to improve what they are doing.”
The money will pay for the equipment and training of a teacher which the district plans for hire for the fourth and fifth grades, Assistant Superintendent Joseph Mancuso III said. He added the goal of the program is to increase the physical fitness to a more vigorous level during each 40-minute period.
“It is more about keeping the kids engaged the entire time,” Ditzler said of the SPARK program. She added the district will use just under $14,000 of the grant to purchase heart rate monitors and iPads for a Fitness for Life program next year at Boiling Spring High School.
The equipment would enable students to self-monitor their cardiovascular activity and their individual rate of improvement, Ditzler said. She explained how the iPads would offer a way for them to move through lessons and workouts independently at their own pace.
Fitness for Life is a nationally recognized, research-based curriculum, Mancuso said. “We are really excited for the opportunity to promote physical education.” He thanked Ditzler for approaching the district last September and encouraging administrators to apply for grant money.
South Middleton is not the only local school district to receive a grant this year. The Partnership recently awarded a $16,500 grant to the Shippensburg Area School Distirct for use in training teachers, aides and other staff methods of encouraging students to keep them physically active during recess, Ditzler said. She added the Shippensburg grant is for a program that is scheduled to start in March or April 2016.
The Partnership was established in 2001 following the sale of Carlisle Hospital, Ditzler said. She explained how proceeds from the sale have been distributed as grant money to fund programs that promote good health and increase access to health care.
The Partnership awards about $2 million in grants every year to local school districts and nonprofit organizations, Ditzler said. “The largest recipient is the Sadler Health Center.” Last year, the Carlisle facility received about $1.5 million in grants.
The coverage area of the Partnerships is the same as the area traditionally served by the hospital — central and western Cumberland and Perry County into the territory of the Upper Adams School District, Ditzler said. Part partnership grant recipients include Project SHARE, Carlisle Victory Circle and the Stevens Center in Carlisle.
Past programs supported by Partnership grant money included a community nurse sponsored by the Civic Club of Shippensburg, trail clearance and construction connected with the Cumberland Valley Rails-to-Trails Council and a Salvation Army program to instruct its shelter residents on the benefits of good nutrition.