LOGAN — Jumping can help children reap a lot of health benefits, according to several Logan County educators.
Several teachers and a representative with the American Heart Association came to the Logan Board of Education meeting Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, at the Ralph R. Willis Vocational Center in Logan to speak about two physical activity programs they fear will be taken out of the classrooms of Logan County elementary schools.
“We have heard that the superintendent of Logan County Schools has told schools not to make a commitment to the ‘Jump Rope for Heart’ and ‘Hoops for Heart’ programs currently done during school hours in several elementary school classrooms,” said Mary Borst, an educator at South Man Grade School. “We have been told that we will not be able to conducts these vitally important health programs during school hours and we are very concerned about it.”
These two programs have been in Logan County for over 35 years, Borst said.
“These programs were started in Logan County and we are the example all over the state,” she said. “These are very strong and important programs that are very worthwhile to the children, parents and overall health of our communities.”
Dar Thieman, an educator at East Chapmanville Grade School, says her school also has a jump rope team that is part of the program.
“These programs create school and community spirit and the health benefits speak for itself,” she said. “If we take this out of the classroom and school day it will have extremely negative effects on the programs. Many parents and students can’t do these things after school and there is really no place to conduct them that isn’t already being used after school by other groups.”
Julia Fleming, a Man Middle School teacher, said the programs also generate funding for events for the students, parents and community.
“Over $16,800 has been given back to Logan County for holding events and getting equipment,” she said. “These programs could, and should, remain in the classrooms during school hours. They should not be taken away from the kids of Logan County. These programs started in Logan County schools and have grown to all 55 counties. We are the shining example of physical education in public schools in West Virginia. Give the schools the opportunity to decide on the programs and to continue them during school hours.”
The programs are also supported by the American Heart Association.
“Logan County educators and schools have always been very passionate about physical education programs and the health of their children and communities,” said Lydia Pruitt, a youth market director for the American Heart Association. “Logan County has the best jumping skills in the entire state and people come from all over for their events. They work hard and are dedicated to teaching kids critical health, peer and creativity skills that only benefits the entire county.”
Logan County Board of Education members said they could not comment on the programs during this meeting, but the subject would be placed on the agenda for the next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, at 6 p.m. at Buffalo Elementary School.
Fred Pace is an editor for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165, ext. 1661, in Madison; at 304-752-6950, ext. 1729 in Logan; by email at [email protected] or @fcpace62 on Twitter.