Young Oak Kim Academy is Fired Up to Move and Stay Moving!
Young Oak Kim Academy (YOKA), a middle school (grades 6-8) in Los Angeles Unified School District, provides a perfect picture of how a vision of a healthy school can be realized through the collaboration of a passionate school team and the synergy of supporting organizations. Winner of the First Place Award in the Spring 2015 Fire Up Your Feet Challenge, YOKA has a strong leader in PE teacher Wester who was vital in getting not only the students, but teachers and other faculty, on board as well. The assistance of Principal Colacion and the support of a school wellness committee were also key components and driving forces of the school’s ultimate success.
YOKA first heard about the Spring Fire Up Your Feet Challenge through their involvement in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools program and Let’s Move! Active Schools. Their facilitator encouraged them to participate in programs that would increase their sustainability as a healthy school, and when he offered Fire Up Your Feet as a resource to them, they rose to the challenge and won $5,200 in awards. Outreach like this in schools is so crucial to creating a healthy school environment, and YOKA shows just how successful it can be when we all work together collectively.
The first thing YOKA did to kick off the challenge was a Bike, Walk or Skate to School Day. PE teacher Wester told Principal Colacion about the challenge and he had bike racks installed the next day! There were also two days during the Fire Up Your Feet Spring Challenge where the kids arrived early to school and participated in a pedometer challenge. They had to do 100 steps of an activity – jumping jacks, run laps, jump rope, etc. – before moving onto another activity. Kid’s names were taken down and then a razor scooter was raffled off as an incentive prize.
Next up on Wester’s list was implementing classroom breaks. Once again she talked with Principal Colacion, and with his support they implemented five minute activity breaks during teacher professional development sessions using GoNoodle and Jammin’ Minute. After one week of this, they started a contest among the teachers during the Fire Up Your Feet Spring Challenge to have physical activity breaks during their regular classes. At the end of the month they raffled off a basket of healthy food for the teacher with the most participation.
Principal Colacion shared that ”Fire Up your feet has been an awesome contribution to creating a climate of wellness at Young Oak Kim Academy where parents, students, staff and teachers are active together in school and out of school. As a STEM school we are integrating our pedometers into tracking our activity and making it cool and fun to be active here in central Los Angeles. YOKA Is Fired UP!”
"The Fire Up Your Feet Challenge was the spark that set off our school-wide classroom activity breaks and bike to school initiatives. We are so grateful to have been a part of the challenge and so proud to now have these new programs. Thank you,” said Wester. “Fire Up Your Feet helped us pay attention to what we weren’t doing that we could do.”
YOKA plans to use the award funds to switch out chairs for medicine stability balls for some of the classrooms. They also plan to get some different PE equipment for games like Kin-Ball and potato sack races to keep the kids moving and having fun all year round.