March 18, 2010 - The Monona Grove school district received more than $540,000 from a federal Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grant designed to help fight childhood obesity. Last year the school district found one in every four of its students was either overweight or obese, and less than half the students said they enjoyed their physical education classes. The grant money can change all of that.
The money has provided new equipment like treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals, and even a vertical climbing wall for gym class. "It shows you how many calories you burned, and how fast you're going, and your pace, so I think that's cool," Katie Molstad, an eighth-grade student at Glacial Drumlin Middle School, said.
And the new equipment aims to go beyond just promoting physical health. "With something like a climbing wall comes confidence, and with middle schoolers, confidence is always an issue that we're faced with," Mike Whisler, the associate principal at Glacial Drumlin said.
Nearly $122,000 in matching grant funds was raised from the community, completely separate from the school district budget.