Visiting Charles City PE

So today I was able to go to watch Mr. O in action during a PE class at Charles City Elementary.  While it isn’t in the JCC county, it was still great to see Virginia is for Education on the school grounds.  One thing I was struck by was how comprehensive these classes are today.  Nutrition education, motivational coaching among others programs are all integrated into these PE classes (I remember picking grass and playing hide and seek).  As one of the poorer districts, Charles City is a title 1 school and receives a great deal of state funding.  They seem to be ahead of the game in terms of their nutritional and physical education and as Mr. O informed us, unlike many other schools, they are very open to his program and look to incorporate it frequently throughout the year.  They were also very welcoming of me and I was able to meet with the PE teacher, a program assistant for family nutrition for JCC and CCC schools (whom I arranged to interview later on) and the principal.  The program assistant works exclusively in title I schools, so she will be a great resource when covering those schools in JCC.  She hinted at the difficulty working with cafeterias that serve free/reduced lunch as they are under more restrictions by the USDA.

In terms of Mr. O’s program, I was shocked at his effectiveness and rapport with the kids.  He got these kids pumping hard the entire time on the bikes, jamming to the latest Katy Perry tunes and generally looking like they were having the time of their lives.   Beyond that, he was able to provide me with the latest budget for JCC’s health intiatives.  The packet breaks down the goals, initiatives, assessments, pay, among others this year (all of which troubled Mr. O greatly as he believes the decisions seem to rest with an elite few who are fiscally irresponsible and unresponsive to outside views).  This will be a huge help in terms of research.  There’s a lot more to say in terms of my visit, but I will save that for later.

Sarah has also directed me to a great article in the WY Daily concerning SHIP’s efforts improving school food.  The article speaks to the difficulty of changing menu options in a cafeteria that has profits in mind.  The economic supply/demand that a primarily self-sustaining cafeteria relies on makes health initiatives challenging, nonetheless it seems that SHIP is making progress.  I have been told that SHIP is on the decline however, so we will see if they continue to make an impact.  I also was interested in the comments section which seemed heavily split between those who felt health/nutrition fell in the realm of the parents and those who believed schools had a right to be involved.  Certainly something to consider as I continue my research.  You can find the article here: http://www.wydaily.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6145:get-schooled-ship-aims-to-make-school-meals-healthier&catid=129:get-schooled&Itemid=141.

In the meantime, I really need to focus my project and decide the direction I’d like to take ASAP!


About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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