New Skates Provide a Wheely Good Time for Elementary Students
Just in time for summer vacation, elementary students in grades 3 through 5 are learning how to skate and rollerblade thanks to a classroom grant from the Johnston Community School Foundation and elementary school PTOs.
While skating has been around for decades, only three of the Johnston elementary schools taught it as part of their physical education curriculum. What’s more, during those units, the skates were rented and rising costs were becoming prohibitive. A solution was needed to expand the skating unit to all five elementary schools, provide a unique learning opportunity for students, and make it affordable for schools.
Enter the Johnston Community School Foundation (JCSF) classroom grant program. JCSF board member Jenn Haxton said she grew up loving to skate and thought this grant had the potential for the most impact at the elementary level. The grant was submitted by Horizon PE teacher Michelle Roquet, with help from the other school PE teachers.
“The Elementary Roller Skating grant proposal is one of the largest the Foundation has taken on,” said Haxton. “To do this by ourselves would have been really hard. So, we partnered with the school PTOs, the Urbandale Home Depot, and our Johnston High School industrial tech students to make it a reality. It feels so good to see all that cooperative work go into something and have a great outcome for kids.”
Each elementary school PTO got to work and put forth $1,000, which was then matched by the JCSF, totaling $10,000. Funds for storage cabinetry construction supplies were furnished through the elementary buildings, along with a $250 donation from the Urbandale Home Depot. JHS industrial tech students then constructed foldable, moveable skate storage containers.
In total, the fundraising effort purchased 150 pairs of quad skates and inline skates, 60 helmets, 60 pairs of wrist guards, and four complete storage cabinets – two for quad skates and two for inline skates. With the move of Wallace Elementary to the former middle school, all five elementary schools will now be able to have the skating unit two times per year.
Timber Ridge physical education teacher Lisa Pecina is currently in the two-week skating unit. She said the unit is one of her favorites because kids show so much growth in skill over a short amount of time. Over the two weeks, they steadily improve their balance, coordination, and self-confidence.
“This grant is just awesome,” said Pecina. “The kids are so excited and now we have two types of skates for kids to try, the helmets, wrist guards, and even trainer bars for those brand new to skating. It will be great to have this as a regular part of our PE curriculum across the district.”