CLEVELAND, Tenn. - A federal grant of more than half a million dollars was awarded Thursday to the Bradley County Schools' Coordinated School Health program.
The federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program will bring $576,579 to the school system for fiscal year 2011-2012 to enhance physical education. A second year of the grant could bring $144,716, and the third and final year could be worth $132,616.
Andrea Lockerby, Bradley County Coordinated School Health director, said the local project, titled "Beyond The Walls," includes physical education, integrating physical activity throughout the school day and a school-wide nutrition curriculum.
"This project builds on our PE4life philosophy, taking physical education beyond the walls of the gymnasium and into our classrooms as well as our community," Lockerby said.
Schools will receive equipment such as spin bicycles, mountain bicycles, climbing walls, sport walls and low-ropes courses. Technology for classrooms includes pedometers and heart rate monitors, officials said.
Karen Saffles-Slater, grant coordinator for county schools, said officials hope the grant program has an effect at home, too.
"As children learn more about nutrition and active lifestyles, they will take that home and share with their families," she said.
The presentation was made at the county schools' central office with state Reps. Eric Watson and Kevin Brooks, state Sen. Mike Bell, Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, county schools Director Johnny McDaniel and central office staff in attendance.
"I am proud of Bradley County Schools being the only system in Tennessee to receive this award this year," said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., in an e-mail. "They are now able to provide the resources needed to help Bradley County kids enjoy a healthy and active school day through a strong PE program. This is a much-needed part of a child's education."
The grant is just the latest advance for county schools in physical and nutrition education, McDaniel said Tuesday at a county school board meeting.
The Kansas City-based PE4life organization is considering using Bradley County Schools for physical education leadership training for the region.
Meanwhile, most county schools either have or soon will complete walking trails for their communities' use.
"What we are doing is becoming a model for the nation," McDaniel said.