School Staff Get Fit; Win Big in 'MCPS On The Move' Health Challenge

January 20, 2011
  Montgomery County Public Schools staff burned more than 51 million calories and logged nearly 138,000 hours of exercise during a health and fitness challenge that had thousands of MCPS employees striving to live healthier lives.

  The MCPS On The Move competition, which recently wrapped up a 12-week run, was a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the school system. Kaiser Permanente awarded more than $100,000 in prizes for individuals, teams and schools. Winners were announced at a ceremony on January 12 at Richard Montgomery High School, where former Olympic gymnast and Gaithersburg High School graduate Dominique Dawes spoke to contest participants.

  Staff members at Highland Elementary claimed the biggest prize from Kaiser Permanente—winning $25,000 for their school for logging more than 4,100 hours of physical activity since October.

  Employees at Burnt Mills Elementary collectively lost the greatest amount of body mass and brought home $10,000 for their school, while staff members at Oakland Terrace Elementary won $5,000 for their school by boasting the highest participation rate in the competition.

  “Our employees demonstrated throughout this challenge that they are not only committed to their own health and fitness, but to being exemplary role models for our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast. “Because of this friendly competition, many MCPS employees adopted permanent, healthy changes to their lifestyle that will benefit the children they serve in our classrooms, lunchrooms, and on our school buses.”

  “I want to thank Kaiser Permanente for their support of this effort and their dedication to the health of our staff and our students,” Dr. Weast said.

  The partnership between MCPS and Kaiser Permanente will continue on in the upcoming months, as school staff members shift their focus to healthy food and nutrition.

  The main goal of the fitness challenge was to promote lifelong exercise and healthy eating habits among MCPS employees. The contest stressed commitment and consistency over athleticism and encouraged participants to incorporate simple, physical activities into their daily routines.

  MCPS On The Move was open to all elementary school staff members—teachers, administrators, paraeducators, secretaries, building services workers, health technicians, cafeteria staff, and bus drivers. Staff members formed teams of four to nine members and logged their individual activity on a Web-based fitness journal.

  In addition to the top awards for the three elementary schools, other MCPS On The Move winners included:

  Teams from Rosemont, Fox Chapel and Burnt Mills for the greatest decreases in body mass index.

  Teams from Beall, William Tyler Page and William B. Gibbs, Jr., for logging the most hours of physical activity.

  Connie Knowlton from Georgian Forest, Marilynn Fortner from Sherwood, Allison Castel from Luxmanor, Carrie Zimmerman from Fox Chapel, and Amy Alonso from Strathmore for greatest decrease in body mass index.

  Lisa Suchland from Olney, Jade Pridgeon from the Carl Sandburg Learning Center, Latoya Hughes from William B. Gibbs, Jr., Lorinda Lane from Fox Chapel, and Tracey Witthaus from Highland for having the most spirit.

Watch this video story on the MCPS On The Move awards ceremony.

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