PATERSON, NJ  – Students from Public School No. 15 got a giant video shout out Friday from New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate. The Super Bowl Champion congratulated the students for their “excellent participation” in the NFL’s PLAY 60 program.

NFL PLAY 60 encourages young people to get physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. Students from 10 district elementary and middle schools took up the challenge to commit to an hour of physical activity at the beginning of the school year.

From that commitment came a partnership between the Cooper Institute, a health and wellness research organization, and district physical education educators to track the students’ activity with the institute’s Fitnessgram software. It was the Fitnessgram data that showed School 15 students were the best in the district in keeping their commitment to be active for at least an hour a day.  

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“I want to congratulate our students at School 15 for keeping their commitment to daily exercise, as well as their dedicated physical education teachers and school administrators for instilling healthy habits in our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “I also want to thank Golden Tate of the New York Giants for giving our students his special recognition of their accomplishment.”    

School 15’s physical education teachers Alexa DeRose, Allison Jones and Holly Rispoli implemented the NFL PLAY 60 and Fitnessgram programs with the support of Principal Ramona Garcia, Vice Principal Helen Guarente, and Physical Education Supervisor Clarissa Adams.

Due to the lack of opportunity to play outside or take part in other activities, the PE team had to get creative.

Being able to implement various fitness challenges into their daily lessons, as well as, keeping track of student progress helped all students see an improvement.

“This department wanted to make it clear that fitness can be fun!” DeRose said “If you introduce activity into their daily routines at a young age, they will enjoy movement. That doesn’t mean running all the time. We danced, raced and had contests where students didn’t realize we were exercising until we reflected on the lesson.”  

While the teachers say they are missing their students while schools are closed due to COVID-19, they have been sending daily workouts to their students, as well as mindfulness activities to help students with stress or anxiety at this time and multiple health lessons on germs and disease.

“This is not a time to take a break, but a time to make progress and enhance their education as well as possible given the lack of technology in our district,” said Jones. “Our students excelled in the Fitnessgram and we have no doubt they are trying their best to stay on track at home.”

“I wish we had a countdown to the return of school,” Rispoli said. “I want to see my students and be sure they continue to grow and love fitness just like I do.”

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