How Did Attica Central Receive the PEP Grant?
by Erin Dressel, District Physical Therapist
As the district physical therapist I wanted to provide an opportunity for all our students to be able to exercise safely and effectively, regardless of age or ability.
Our weight room facility prior to receiving the PEP grant was outdated and not properly equipped for the majority of our students. During the 2006-2007 school year, John Spink, Eric Romesser, Mike Kaiser, and I gave a presentation to the Board of Education regarding the urgent need to update our weight room facility. It was determined there weren't sufficient school funds for such a project and the BOE suggested we should research grant funding options.
As I visited nearby school districts that were in the process of updating their weight room facilities, I learned about the Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grant. The PEP grant is a federally funded grant from the United States Department of Education. The purpose of the PEP grant is to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs and purchase new equipment to increase the physical activity opportunities of students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Among many other opportunities, the PEP grant could provide the necessary funding to update our current weight room.
In February of 2008, Mr. Spink, Mr. Romesser, and myself presented to the Board of Education a proposal to apply for the PEP Grant and create a state of the art wellness facility within our district. The only financial requirement from the district would be the hiring of a professional grant writer to assist us in the overwhelming application process. The BOE approved the proposal and we set out gathering all the information required.
It was an immense amount of work. Our Physical Education staff, Mr. Spink, and I worked diligently to gather student information, complete student surveys, and to obtain various required documentation needed for the application. We also set clear objectives and goals for the project by developing and itemizing a specific budget. This included researching and exploring equipment options, while designing programs to increase the activity levels and nutritional education opportunities of our students.
We submitted a PEP application to the federal government in the spring of 2008. Unfortunately, our initial application was denied. Our district received a score of 88%. We reviewed the comments and realized our goals were obtainable if we made some minor revisions to our initial application.
We once again approached the BOE to recommend a revision and re-submission of our PEP application during the 2009-10 school year. Our BOE agreed to support the request. Mr. Spink, Mr. Romesser, the entire PE department, and myself worked many hours to be certain our final application would be successful. On October 1, 2010 ACS was awarded $684,845.00!
Although there is financial uncertainty around us, we should applaud the federal government for sustaining and continuing to fund the PEP grant. Our nation is striving to reduce current obesity rates and cultivate a healthier generation of young people. Obesity rates at ACS are above the national average. However through the PEP grant funding, our students now have extensive opportunities to increase their overall health and wellness. The PEP grant funding has allowed these opportunities to exist without spending district funds.
The next three years will be exciting as the goals we established in the PEP grant are implemented here at ACS. Our students will have the opportunity to exercise in a state of the art fitness facility suitable for all ages and ability levels. We now have updated equipment and extensive interactive gaming systems to increase a student’s self-motivation to exercise. We are revising PE and health curriculums to include increased nutritional education. We are promoting life-long fitness for all our students through a variety of new physical activities. We are expanding after school enrichment programs to increase the opportunities to use the new equipment and allow kids to be active after school.
I'd like to express our appreciation for the support of our Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools as we journeyed through this exciting endeavor.
A community Open House for the new Wellness Center in the high school was held April 11, 2011.
We look forward to the exciting, positive impact the new equipment and programs will have on the health and wellness of our students, our school, and our community. Thank you for your continued interest and support as we continue our tradition of excellence at ACS.
For more information, check the power point presentation where you will find many of the terms and specifics of the grant are highlighted.