Coach Parker’s Students are Running the Distance
By MK Editor, May 23, 2021
Patrick Parker from Indian Creek Elementary School in Lewisville, Texas was recently recognized as Teacher of the Year. Unlike past recipients, you will not find Parker in a classroom. As the school's PE teacher, he is more likely to be in the gymnasium or outside while his students are running the distance on the track. This year, PE teachers like Coach Parker have had to be creative in untold ways. They make sure kids stay moving and get the physical and emotional benefits of PE during the pandemic.
Coach Parker has worked hard to keep his students motivated to be active, and his hard work has paid off. A Physical Education teacher for 18 years, he is passionate about keeping kids running and moving. Normally, Coach Parker also coaches an afterschool run club for kids. But this year, due to the pandemic, he has been treating his PE class as his youth running club.
The pandemic has altered the way we do things, which has caused pain points for educators. Indian Creek Elementary School has returned to school operations in a hybrid state—half in-person and half virtual. The in-person students fall under Coach Parker's umbrella.
Coach Parker says that Marathon Kids Connect digital tools have relieved some pain points. With individual QR codes for students and having the ability for self-scanning, he is still able to freely record physical activity with the distance tracking app. This allows him to stay accountable and ensure his students are getting the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.
Marathon Kids Run Across America
Coach Parker has about 400 students ranging from Kindergarten to 5th grade. He says they start each class with 10 minutes of heart-pumping activity. With Marathon Kids Connect, 10 minutes of activity equals half a mile. Occasionally, his classes will run or walk laps outside, and every nine weeks they have a max distance run/jog/walk challenge. Coach Parker encourages his student to just move. He tells them if they need to walk, that's okay because they are still being active.
Coach Parker has a bulletin board displayed to show each class rank and distance. He says the biggest benefit of Marathon Kids is that his students now set goals for themselves on how many laps they want to work towards running. For Indian Creek Elementary School, twenty laps equal a mile. Coach Parker had one student tell him he was going to get to 40 laps, and the student marked his own words!
Additionally, to show the kids how far they have collectively run, Coach Parker has equated their miles to running the distance across America. He marked a route from Maine to California. As a school they are currently on mile 4,700, so they are in west Texas right now! He says kids get excited seeing how far they have come and will ask him what state are they in now! He also marks on the map how far each grade as traveled. It is a great and fun visual for to the kids to see their progress and what they have accomplished!
Thanks to generous support from H-E-B, Marathon Kids' physical activity programming is available and free to all Texas schools, like Indian Creek Elementary School.