SPRINGFIELD TWP.  Schrop Intermediate School was one of 10 schools in the United States awarded a 2018 Impact Schools Grant.

The grant was awarded by SHAPE America (Society of Health and Physical Education) and Gopher Sports to 10 schools which are in a high-need area classified by being a Title 1 school with at least 40 percent of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. The goal of the grant is to support improving existing health and physical education programs across the country.  

As the only Ohio School to receive the SHAPE America grant, Schrop will benefit in a variety of ways. Schrop physical education teacher, Betty Kern has a list of priority items the school could use through the grant funds. Those items include a GaGa Ball pit that can be used inside or outside for physical eduation classes or recess and a disc golf course around school property or portable targets that can be used inside or outside during physical education, recess or before or after school. Also, on the list, is the creation of a walking/running course near the recess area for students to use during recess where they will be able to track laps and miles; a 9-Square in the Air Game, which helps to engage reluctant students in volleyball skills and adaptive hand and foot holds for the climbing wall for special needs children; and some traditional physical education equipment also needs replaced but funds are limited to do so. Strengthening health and nutrition education within the school day is another focus area for the use of grant funds.  

The selection is part of a partnership to improve existing health and physical education programs across the country. Those selected represent more than 5,000 students.

Kern applied for the grant and said a virtual race is being held by SHAPE America and Gopher Sport to help support the grants.

"I would love to see businesses in Akron get involved in some fashion with this fundraising event," Kern said.

The virtual race is called Big Feats and is being held through Dec. 31 online at https://donate.shapeamerica. org/event/big-feats-for-shape- america-virtual-race/e201225.

Kern put out a plea for sponsors for her students to participate in this virtual race. 

"I would also like to hold an event for our kids, families, sponsors, etc., to participate in a 'virtual' race of a distance of their choice in conjunction with the SHAPE Big Feats Virtual Race," she said.

The physical activity recommendation for children is 60 minutes every day. Physical activity improves children's physical and mental health, as well as, their academic performance.

Kern said her goal is to motivate all children to be physically active. That is why a variety of before and after school physical activity programs are offered at Schrop Intermediate School including Morning Walking Club, Workout Warriors (before school workout club), Girls Fall Running Club, Boys Fall Running Club, Yoga Club, Winter Jump Rope Club, Winter Running Club, Speedy Spartans Spring Running Club,  JAWS Spring Club (Joggers and Walkers), Spring Jump Rope Club, and new this year, Climbing/Ninja Club.  

"Each of these grantees has demonstrated a clear passion for improving their health and physical education programs, and a commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of their students and the community," SHAPE America CEO Stephanie Morris said in a news release.

Morris said SHAPE America is excited to be able to advance this initiative that benefits schools and teachers.

Virtual race participants set their own movement and/or distance goals and complete the race on their own time, at their own pace and at any location they choose. Participants can help raise grant funds through their personal network and monies funnel through the Big Feats Fundraising page. Eighty percent of the funds raised will benefit the 10 grant schools. The remaining funds will help support local, state, and national efforts and outreach for health and physical education. 

Kern will receive free membership to SHAPE America, curriculum resources, a free national conference ticket and online professional development.

Kern has been teaching in the Springfield Local Schools since 1987. She has been teaching physical education at Schrop since 2011. In 2017, she was awarded Ohio Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year. In 2016, she was awarded Springfield Local Schools teacher of the year.

As a grant recipient, Kern said, Schrop is not required to participate in the virtual race but it provides an opportunity for the community to be involved in the fundraising effort and an incentive to get everyone moving.

"It is a great honor to be selected as one of the ten SHAPE America Impact Grant Schools," Kern said. "The investment that SHAPE America, Gopher Sports and Virtual Race Participants are making in our students, school and programs will produce lasting immeasurable benefits to the health and wellness of individuals, the school and the community."

To sponsor a student or to participate in the Big Feats Virtual Race and join the Schrop Impact School Team, follow the link: https://donate.shapeamerica.org/fundraiser/1772218. If a business or individual would like to contribute to sponsor the race event, contact Betty Kern at Schrop Intermediate School by email: sp_kern@springfieldspartans.org, or by phone at 330-798-1007.