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Wellcats for Life Report September 2018

The Wellcats for Life PEP Grant serves approximately 1,800 K-12 students in the Depew Union Free School District (DUFSD) outside of Buffalo, New York. At the conclusion of Year 2 data collection, the following was determined:

Measure 1.1 (Polar Active Activity Monitors)

34% of our students engage in 60 minutes of daily physical activity

Measure 1.2 (Fitnessgram)

54% of our students meet the standard of a healthy fitness zone for the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in at least five of the six fitness areas.

Measure 1.3 (Electronic Survey)

28% of our students consume fruit two or more times a day and vegetables three or more times a day.

Funding from this grant has allowed Depew UFSD to accomplish the following during the 2017-2018 school year:

1) In order to improve the amount of physical activity and overall health of our students, Wellcats for Life has created new, state of the art fitness/wellness centers in all three district buildings. During year 2, these three centers were utilized on a daily basis by our Physical Education classes, interscholastic athletic teams, and by our students during open workout times.

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2) In addition to our new fitness/wellness centers, students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of intramural activities. While we continue to offer traditional intramurals, such as team and individual sports, Wellcats for Life has allowed us to expand offerings for our students. For example, we now offer Dalcroze Eurhythmics, aquatics, various group fitness classes, and the Wildcats on the Move Running Club. In year 2, this coed running club partnered with New York Road Runners (NYRR) and was open to all students. The season culminated in early June with a 5K race in the Buffalo area.

3) While the new fitness/wellness centers have helped to enhance our Physical Education program, Wellcats for Life has provided DUFSD with an opportunity to update our curriculum to better align with both state and national standards. Infused with SPARK, CATCH Nutrition, and OPEN Phys. Ed., our updated curriculum now includes unit plans, block plans, study guides, rubrics, cognitive assessments, and skill assessments for all units K-12.

4) In addition to updating our curriculum, we were also able to purchase and implement IHT Adidas Zones heart rate monitors K-12. The use of heart rate monitors during class time has assisted children in learning aerobic pacing and target heart rate, staying in the zone, comparing the effects of varied physical activities on the heart, etc. Also, students in grades 6-12 were introduced to PLT4M, which is a cloud-based strength and conditioning program specifically designed for use in PE classes. Along with our new state-of-the-art fitness/wellness centers, PLT4M will help instill a sense of ownership over one’s fitness.

5) Wellcats for Life allowed us to continue to send our staff to quality professional development offerings across the country. In November, 6 Depew PE teachers were sent to the NYS AHPERD Conference at Turning Stone, while, in March, 4 attended the SHAPE America Conference in Nashville, TN.

6) Our PEP Grant has allowed us to implement elements of Outdoor Education with the purchase of snowshoes for our elementary and high school students. In addition, the Wildcat Family Snowshoe Walk was held in February and was open to all current Depew students and their families. This event featured basic instruction from our PE staff, a guided walk, games, and healthy snacks.

7) Finally, in order to successfully meet the physical activity needs of our students during the summer months, Depew UFSD once again partnered with Depew Recreation to offer the Wellcats for Life Summer Day Camp. Open to all current DUFSD students entering grades 1-8, this free four week day camp employed 11 current Depew teachers and 5 additional staff members. Participants were involved in a variety of daily activities, such as sports, lifetime activities, cooperative games, aquatics, arts & crafts, and STEAM. The summer also included theme weeks, camp-wide celebrations, and a field trip to the Buffalo Zoo.


Play 60 Fitness Party at ADPRO Sports Training Center

December, 5, 2017: Mrs. Cierzo's third grade class was chosen to participate in the Fitness Party For Kids at the ADPRO Sports Training Center on Dec. 5. Their classroom was selected because of their participation in the Play 60 Challenge and Fitness For Kids Challenge during October and November.

TXR Training held for PE teachers

November 22, 2017: TXR Training was held for all kindergarten through grade 12 physical education teachers.


Wellcats for Life PEP Grant 

May 2017: The Wellcats for Life PEP Grant serves approximately 1,800 K-12 students in the Depew Union Free School District (DUFSD) outside of Buffalo, New York.

Wellcats for Life allowed for the creation of new, state of the art fitness/wellness centers in all three district buildings. Each center was outfitted with a 21’ TRX, several pieces of cardio equipment, and age-appropriate weight training and fitness items. Our largest center, at Depew High School, is fully equipped with the LF Connect fitness tracker and QR codes on all cardiovascular and selectorized equipment. These features allow students not only to log their workouts, but also to submit them to their teachers or to enter them into their physical fitness plans in their PE classes. 

The center was even featured on our local ABC affiliate, 7 Eyewitness News, during their recent fitness week. Watch the news clip here.

Our high school fitness center also allows DUFSD to provide increased opportunities for our students to be physically active before, during, and after the school day. The center is open to all students in grades 6-12 before school (6:00am-7:30am), after school (2:30pm-7:30pm), on Saturdays (8:00am-12:00pm), and during school hours if they have a scheduled lunch or study hall period.

In addition to our new fitness/wellness centers, students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of intramural activities. While we continue to offer traditional intramurals, such as team and individual sports, Wellcats for Life has allowed us to expand offerings for our students. For example, we now offer the Wildcats on the Move Running Club, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, aquatics, and various group fitness classes.

While the new fitness/wellness centers will help to enhance our current Physical Education and Health Education programs, Wellcats for Life has provided DUFSD with an opportunity to update our curriculum to better align with both state and national standards. To date, we have attended both the National SHAPE Conference and the NYS AHPERD Conference, infused the CATCH Nutrition Program K-8, and integrated the SPARK curriculum K-5.

In order to successfully meet the physical activity needs of our students during the summer months, DUFSD has partnered with Depew Recreation to create the Wellcats for Life Summer Day Camp. Open to all current DUFSD students entering grades 1-8, this free four week day camp will employ four current Depew PE teachers. Participants will be involved in a variety of daily activities, such as sports, lifetime activities, cooperative games, fun & games, aquatics, and arts & crafts.

Moving forward, we plan to purchase 3-5 class sets of HR monitors for use in our K-12 PE classes as well as snowshoes for our elementary and middle schools. 


U.S. Department of Education Carol M. White Physical Education (PEP) grant

September 2016: Depew Union Free School District is the recipient of a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Education Carol M. White Physical Education (PEP) grant. This is a three-year program which the district has named “WellCats for Life”.

According to Susan Frey, Depew’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, “The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) is designed to reflect best practices and research for improving children’s and adolescents’ health and fitness. The overall goal is to encourage physical activity, healthy eating and to meet the state standards for physical education. The primary focus of the PEP grant is to develop high-quality physical and health education programs and an environment supportive of physical activity.”

In Depew, the plan includes creating and/or upgrading a fitness center at each of the three schools. The centers will be outfitted with state-of-the-art treadmills, exercise bicycles, heart rate monitoring systems, upgraded weight training equipment and gaming consoles of adventure and fitness/dance games. Other instructional supplies that the grant will purchase include cross country skis, BOSU packs, snowshoes, updated health and physical education curriculum materials as well as ongoing training for staff to attend national, state and local conferences.

The “WellCats for Life” program will transform the district’s nutritional, physical education and health curriculums. The grant aims to achieve goals by September 2019 that focus on improving the overall health and fitness of students from kindergarten through grade 12 by increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables students consume and increasing the number of minutes that students engage in physical activity to 60 minutes daily.

Stacy Ribbeck has been appointed as the Carole White PEP Grant Coordinator. She will work with all our district physical education/health staff, administration, athletics and community partners to facilitate all the goals and objectives of the grant. She will be sharing monthly updates of grant progress on our district website to keep everyone informed.

The school district has entered into several community partnerships for this PEP grant, as a collaborative approach to achieve the overall goals of the grant. Depew’s partners include the Village of Depew, YMCA of Buffalo and Niagara, Erie County Department of Health, Lancaster/Depew Boys and Girls Club, United Way of Buffalo and Niagara County and Independent Health.