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Holland schools get phys ed grant

For the second time in six years, the Holland School District has received a Physical Education for Progress [PEP] grant, giving the district nearly a million dollars of federal grant money to update its physical fitness, health and wellness initiatives.

Carol Propis, the physical education teacher who applied for the grant, said Monday that Holland’s program, called “Unplug and Power Up,” will be rolled out over three years.

It requires the district to contribute 10 percent, or $60,000, against the first year’s funds of $605,000 and about $40,000, or 25 percent, of the following two years’ annual installments of $156,000 and $167,000, respectively.

Holland’s share will be fulfilled by agreement with teachers in which 80 percent volunteer 10 minutes of their free period or lunch period to engage students in a classroom or recess activity period. In the process, students will develop personal physical fitness goals, including a healthy body mass index and percent body fat measurement.

Positions required by the grant include a wellness coordinator, a full-time physical education teacher/tech post and part-time pool, fitness and nutritional coordinators. Not all salaries are covered by the grant, Propis said.

While Superintendent Cathy Fabiotos called landing the grant an “impressive” accomplishment, she noted past criticisms concerning exercise apparatus that went unused after the last grant expired.

“We have to talk about equipment, getting a real place for it. It is disjointed now,” the superintendent said.

In other matters, board member Kelleen Kensey expressed frustration at getting information from the administration. She said her request last month for teacher schedules had not been answered.

Fabiatos said she had delayed responding because she wanted direction from the board on how requests from individual members are to be handled and whether the board should discuss it as a whole first.

Board member Judy Geer suggested that all requests go to the superintendent; then, if the information-gathering isn’t too large a project, it should be emailed to all board members.

Fabiatos agreed, adding she would send the teacher schedules to all board members.