AR schools awarded grant to purchase PE equipment - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

AR schools awarded grant to purchase PE equipment

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

WEINER, AR (KAIT) – The Weiner Elementary School was awarded the 2011 Child Wellness Intervention Project Grant Program by the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission in late February. Christy Buchanan, a PE teacher at the Weiner campus, said the school will receive more than $16,000 to purchase several pieces of equipment. The equipment will be used to improve her lesson plans and help give children something else to do when in PE class.

"For the younger kids, one of the things I know I'd like to purchase are scarves to teach juggling. With the older kids, they won't be as interested in that," said Buchanan.

According to a media release by the ATSC, $16,900.13 was awarded to Weiner Elementary by the Arkansas Surgeon General. In all, $656,792.01 in grant money was awarded to 44 schools in the state in 28 districts. Funding for the grant came available after the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act was passed in 2000.

"When we went to Little Rock, they did a demonstration and everything that they've done so far with this program is set to music. So anytime you turn on the radio and there is a kid around, they're going to start moving," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said she was instructed to purchase several pieces of equipment. The school was awarded two grants, one for children in kindergarten through the 2nd grade and the other for children in the 3rd grade through the 6th grade.

"I think this is going to play a large part in lowering our obesity rate at the school," said Buchanan.

Obesity has been a growing problem over the last 50 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rate for children ages 2 through 11 has spiked 20% since the 1950's.

"I have three kids myself, so it's very important to me to see them out doing stuff. I was a very active kid, so I like to see that they can learn something that they can take with them throughout their life," said Buchanan. "I see that it's (obesity) higher in girls. At this campus, we have a lot of boys that play sports outside of the school and I see a lot more boys playing than I do girls."

Buchanan said some of the pieces of equipment included in the requirements are unfamiliar. She said there is approximately $7,000 worth of equipment she must purchase. She said the rest of the $9,000 will be used to purchase other equipment.

"This grant is going to allow us to do that, because they're going to have so many opportunities, so many different opportunities than they've ever had. A lot of these kids have never been on a scooter. Anytime you put a kid on wheels, they'll have a lot of fun," said Buchanan.

Buchanan said the program will not only help teach students new activities, but it could also enhance a student's classroom success.

"They have so much technology, video games and big screen TVs, they're more indoors than we would like for them to be," said Buchanan. "We're going to order the outdoor Frisbee golf equipment. It's just going to give our kids a lot more opportunities and hopefully get some of the kids involved that don't like basketball or don't like baseball."

"We're very limited on equipment. We have 12 jump ropes maybe, 12 hula hoops and several basketballs. This grant is going to give us the opportunity to purchase some things like golf equipment, indoor hockey equipment and scooters," said Buchanan. "We can lower obesity rates in the state of Arkansas by getting kids up, getting them moving. We got $16,900 worth of funding, which is going to buy a lot of equipment for our school district."

The Weiner Elementary School was not the only school in Region 8 to receive grant money.

Below is a list of schools in Region 8 awarded money this year.

Armorel High School received $13,894.51.

Baldwin Elementary received $9,609.55.

Cherokee Elementary received $9,609.55.

Cord-Charlotte Preschool received $7,260.18.

Cross County Elementary received $8,180.58.

Earle Elementary received two grants totaling $18,680.13.

Earle Preschool received $7,260.18.

Highland Middle School received two grants totaling $24,551.98.

Highland High School received $13,894.51.

Newark Preschool-Newark Campus received $7,260.18.

Newark Preschool-Oil Trough Campus received $7,260.18.

Newport Junior High received $13,894.51.

Osceola Academic Center received three grants totaling $32,732.56.

Osceola Communications Arts and Business School received $13,004.51.

South Side received three grants totaling $32,732.56.

Weiner Elementary received two grants totaling $16,900.13.

Westside Elementary received two grants totaling $18,677.13.

Westside High School received $13,894.58.


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