CF Schools receive PE grant again

Associate Principal Troy Becker

Every year, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) generously gives schools millions of dollars for physical education programs through the PEP Grant. This money is always well-deserved and helps many schools in the improvement of their physical education programs. This year, the Cedar Falls Community School District is receiving the PEP Grant for the second consecutive time and has big plans for its PE programs.

PEP awarded the Cedar Falls Community School District $605,083 last year in its first year receiving the PEP Grant. The amount for the second and third years are yet to be determined. However, the amount of money is expected to be even larger than what has previously been received. Associate Principal and Assistant Athletic Coordinator Troy Becker said, “It could end up being around a million dollars for the three years.”

In order to receive the PEP Grant, the district’s physical education teachers had to meet with a grant writer to put together a plan that focuses on helping the schools connect with the Blue Zones Project (a community improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier) and the University of Northern Iowa. Those working on the grant (the central administration, principals, physical education teachers and wellness committee) had to explain their plan for improving students’ physical fitness.

In addition, they had to explain what equipment and supplies they planned to buy with the grant and how they would use them to meet their goals. Basically, those applying for the PEP Grant had to demonstrate why they deserved the money and how they would responsibly use it. Once a grant is received, the school district must work with a grant evaluator to make sure the specified grant goals are met. If the district meets its set goals, it will continue to receive a sum of money over the course of three years, after which it must apply for the grant again if more money is desired.

The last time the school district received the grant, the money went toward the furnishing of the whole cardio room and half of the weight room. It was also used for the purchase of heart rate monitors, Bodybuggs, accessories and computer software. The high school gym’s sound system was upgraded, and fitness equipment was restocked and upgraded. The grant basically allows for a brand new set of activities for students to participate in, which hopefully will make them more willing to participate in fun, healthy activities.  Physical education teachers hope that this will give students the lifelong skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle.

The PEP Grant helps the school district purchase new equipment and supplies for physical education programs (K-12) in Cedar Falls Community Schools. Anything from rock climbing walls to cross-country skiing equipment to yoga and pilates equipment could be purchased for student use in physical education classes. It also greatly increases the quality of the programs, as it works to improve every single aspect of physical education. The grant will pay for curriculum upgrades and changes and professional development for staff. It also allows the district to bring in consultants to assist in program development, and it allows physical education staff to attend state and national conferences. “The PEP grant allows us to have the financial backing to strive for one of the best physical education programs in the world. It also allows us to train our future teachers from UNI the latest and best methods that they, in turn, can take out with them in their future schools. We help train future teachers to utilize the best and greatest methods,” Becker said.

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