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When Jamie Leeburg took over physical education at Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood, she brought a new technology-driven approach.
Students in her class use pedometers and heart monitors to keep both themselves and Leeburg updated on their progress and growth.
"The students here are really embracing this technology," she said. "It keeps them excited and motivated throughout the class to keep moving."
Dunstan joined Lakewood's Patterson International School and Littleton's Peiffer Elementary School in receiving recognition from the Colorado Education Initiative's Colorado Healthy Schools Summit on March 4, as Healthy School Champions.
"This is another tool for us to show all the work we're doing to make kids aware of healthy living," said Holli Swanson, Peiffer's PE teacher. "When kids listen they take it heart, and this will help us educate them about being a healthy person."
Dunstan Middle School
The pairing of exertion and technology earned Dunstan its Healthy School Champion status.
Using this technology during everything from mile runs to guided exercise routines, students compete to earn the top score of "Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity."
Leeburg offers a lifetime fitness class that is geared more to students who don't enjoy team sports.
"For the kids who don't feel comfortable doing that, this is perfect for them because they're just challenging themselves," she said. "Recognition like this show we're moving in the right direction."
Peiffer Elementary School
For their recognition, Peiffer teachers and staff work to identify the health needs of individual students. Fifteen percent of Peiffer's student body follows an individual Student Health Plan, or has medication in the school clinic, according to information provided by the Colorado Education Initiative.
Parent volunteer Carrie McKenzie and school psychologist David Fennimore work closely with Swanson to keep their students health.
"We've changed little things like having recess first and then lunch, because studies show that's better for the students," Swanson said. "We also have a faculty fitness club that meets after school."
Other healthy activities at Peiffer include a walk or bike to school program, candy trade-in and a healthy heart program.
Patterson International School
Principal Valerie Pollitt participates on the Healthy School's team, and supported adding brain breaks into the school's master schedule. The school holds running club before school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a brain break for 10 to 15 minutes in every class, and a Friday morning dance party.
Laura Espinal, a 6th grade teacher and head of the Healthy School Committee, said the recognition is really exciting and hopes it will encourage students in a cafeteria mural project they are working on.
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