The Fairfax News reports that the Fairfax County Public School system will receive a $741,840 federal grant for its Living Fit in Fairfax (LFF) program to combat obesity and promote physical fitness. Congressman Gerry Connolly announced the grant today. The grant is for the fiscal year beginning October 1 and “additional grants are expected for the following two fiscal years.”
The federal grant program is aimed at helping students meet state physical fitness standards by helping school systems initiate, expand, or improve physical education programs, including after-school programs.
Let’s hope that Fairfax concentrates on in-school programs first. Will Fairfax expand the time in the elementary school week to ensure that students are allowed more than 10 minutes per day for recess? Will it also allow more time for physcial education? Perhaps the grant money could be used to hire additional instructional assistants who could serve as recess monitors. Then Mondays could become full days in the elementary schools. Teachers would have additional planning time during the recess periods. If students had 25 minutes of recess per day, that would amount to 125 minutes per week. This could help compensate for the loss of 120 minutes currently used on Monday afternoons.
Parents should protest any plan to provide temporary after school programs if the in-school programs remain so inadequate.