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Rebooting the Middle School Running Program

By Jeff Hutzler, director of athletics and physical education
Middle schoolers are exceeding their fitness standard goals.
One of this year’s physical education department goals was to update the running program in Grades 5 and 6. Led by PE Educator Brie Benson, department members took advantage of the school’s professional development opportunities to discover and adopt a new running software program called EZ Scan. They observed educators at another school using the program to learn about its benefits and then adapted it to meet the needs of our students and curriculum. Launched in the fall, the results of the new program have been extremely positive.

The new and improved running program allows our PE teachers to record accurate data on each individual. Students scan their QR code into the EZ Scan App, and their laps, total mileage, and number of run days are tracked and recorded. Fifth and sixth graders usually run twice a week for 12 minutes. The goal is for students to complete one mile per run day to align with our fitness standards. Students have told us they “feel better after running,” they are “happier,” and “now, it’s a habit; when I was on spring break, I wanted to keep running.” 

As an incentive, students are rewarded for their progress with color-coded toe tokens collected on a keychain that can be attached to running shoes, a backpack or a jacket. Each color token represents a 5-mile benchmark (blue for 5 miles, white for 10 miles, yellow for 15 miles). We’ve seen a significant increase in students’ effort and participation. Top runners are recording 1.5-2 miles in the 12 minutes on each run day and, to date, have run over 50 miles for the year. That’s the length of two marathons!

Running is an essential life-long skill that students can take with them as they continue learning to experience a healthy lifestyle. Running improves brain function and cardiovascular health and helps keep bones and joints strong. The result has been happier, healthier, fitter and more motivated students.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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