Innovation in Physical Education

RickSaturday’s (8.24.13) Columbus Dispatch had a great article about Granby Elementary‘s push to create a pump track that students could use to transition recess time into a bicycling time.  The push to create the pump track has been led by Granby Physical Education Teacher, Rick Armstrong “a 40-year-old spike haired gym teacher.”

You may remember that I wrote about Rick last Spring when we were promoting the “Worthington Wellness Warrior Run.”  (btw:  This year the Warrior Run has been moved to Fall, Friday, September 20th, in hopes of better weather.  Mark your calendar for this event.  I plan to run with my entire family, and I’m hoping you will run also.  I think Board of Education members Marc Schare and Julie Keegan as well as Worthington staff Randy and Michelle Banks and Vicki Gnezda, are all too scared to run against me.  If you’re not afraid you can register here.  Just Sayin….) Or you may know Rick as his alter ego:  Wellness Man (pictured above)

granby-bikes1Anyway, the pump track is another example of Rick working to create something he believes will benefit kids.  For some time he has led a bicycle club at school and has incorporated bicycling into recess.  The pump track would take all of this to a new level not seen anywhere else in Central Ohio.

In Worthington we believe in physical education for all students.  However, we also realize that physical education cannot look like it did when you and I were in school.  Our physical education teachers are working diligently to engage this generation of students in meaningful and fun wellness activities.  From running clubs, to climbing walls, to bicycle clubs, and archery teams, our elementary physical education program seeks to engage students in physical activities that they will use for a lifetime.

None of this happens without incredibly dedicated staff members who go way above and beyond to make a difference.  To begin the creation of the pump track, Rick led a group of volunteers including teachers and parents to spend hundreds of hours this summer clearing a path through the woods by Granby.  He’s visited pump tracks across Ohio, and he’s working to secure corporate sponsorships.  All of this is done on his own time.

I hope as a district level administrator I add value to Worthington Schools.  Often I think the best ideas, and the most energy, come when we as administrators get out of the way and allow our passionate educators, like Rick, to create.  There is a lot of work to be done before the pump track idea is fully realized.  Thus far, Rick, and the Granby staff and parents, are on the path to creating something truly innovative in elementary education.  I look forward to seeing where this goes and may even pull the old mountain bike out of the garage to try the trail myself…

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2 Responses to Innovation in Physical Education

  1. pschlaegel says:

    Well said, Trent! Rick is a fine example of the many Edugators that are constantly seeking new and creative ways to engage this generation of learners. Oh, BTW BOE member, Marc Schare is already registered for the Warrior Run… No fear!

  2. Rick says:

    Somehow I have stumbled upon this article (fun read – thanks Dr Bowers!) and wanted to give an update. Although the process has been long, and there have been many meetings (more than I care to mention!), we are STILL determined to bring a state-of-the-art pumptrack to Central Ohio and Worthington City Schools! No one can determine the timeline right now, but I can assure you of the team’s resolve to make this happen! Stay tuned and keep updated at Gators Bike Park Facebook page!

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