Mae Richardson Elementary Build a Positive Attitude About Running
By Catherine Morris
There are no P.E. teachers at Mae Richardson Elementary in Central Point, Oregon. “At our school, classroom teachers teach P.E.,” says Kristen Juveland, a third-grade teacher at Mae Richardson. She is a first-time Marathon Kids coach, and one of several classroom teachers at the school who use Marathon Kids programming as part of their Physical Education curriculum.
“We have participants in second through fifth grades,” Juveland says. “The fourth grade, which has a tradition of afternoon track time, has the highest mileage.” Each class has a track session and a game session every week. “For now, teachers have agreed to use Marathon Kids just for the running time, though there are other times people use the track as well.”
Track time used to require lots more work for the teachers than it does this year. “Other grade levels have a history of getting kids out running,” Juveland recalls, “and counting student laps with popsicle sticks, and keeping track on spreadsheets.”
The shift to Marathon Kids has been a relief. Its free digital platform, Marathon Kids Connect, makes it easy to track and report on kids’ active time with just the scan of a student ID card. Now, Juveland says, there is “less legwork on the teachers’ end. The program has helped organize our track time and give more structure during the track P.E. session.”
Marathon Kids Is a Natural Choice for an Active Community
Central Point is a suburb of Medford, in southern Oregon, less than an hour’s drive from the California border. It’s a small, close-knit community of fewer than 20,000 residents. The surrounding area is rife with natural beauty, with seemingly endless opportunities to get outside and get moving. Forests and mountains abound, and Crater Lake National Park, the only national park in Oregon, is nearby.
Juveland says Marathon Kids is a great fit for “a school community that always encourages kids to be active and try their best.” For example, each fall, Mae Richardson Elementary hosts a jog-a-thon fundraiser at the start of the school year. It has traditionally been a community event, with families encouraged to come out and cheer on their student runners as they run laps around the school’s outdoor track.
Juveland believes the excitement of the annual jog-a-thon helps set the tone for Mae Richardson students regarding running for the rest of the year. “The kids always have so much fun during that event,” she says. “I think that helps students to hold a positive attitude toward their track time. They also like the scanning!”
Marathon Kids program is “a super fun and easy way to get kids motivated to run and stay active during P.E.”
Marathon Kids Connect Makes Tracking Physical Activity a Breeze
The scanning that Juveland refers to is her students’ ID cards, which they scan themselves through the Marathon Kids Connect app as they complete each lap during track time. The cards can be scanned on any smartphone or mobile device—no Wi-Fi needed. Each student’s data is gathered and stored in real time, and can be used to track their progress, generate reports, celebrate milestones, and more.
Juveland’s students have 30 minutes during their weekly track sessions to complete laps. “Some students try and run the whole time,” she says. “Some just like to walk for most of the time, with spurts of running. Students will cover anywhere from half a mile to almost two miles per session.”
All that running practice adds up. It builds students’ endurance and confidence while instilling in them a love of running. It helps to lay the foundation for a lifetime of good health—the Marathon Kids mission. It also helps to prepare Central Point students for the other big running event hosted by their school district—an annual “mini-marathon” 5K run that is open to all fourth- and fifth-grade students district-wide.
Most of all, for Juveland, implementing the Marathon Kids program has been “a super fun and easy way to get kids motivated to run and stay active during P.E.” She admits that it can seem daunting to implement yet another program in the midst of all the other responsibilities that classroom teachers have, but the Marathon Kids program nearly runs itself, and the payoffs are many.
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