At Clayton Elementary, a small school with 227 students in Cherokee County, Physical Education teacher Anne Cross introduced the Get Yourself Moving (GYM) program two years ago in fall of 2015. The program was created because Clayton’s students cannot walk or bicycle to school due to the rural location. GYM aims to increase physical activity before and throughout the school day in grades 1-5. The program even incorporates math because students used a foot-measuring wheel to measure and calculate the distance from each homeroom to the cafeteria to art room, music room and more! Sometimes students choose to take the long way to a classroom just to get more steps.
GYM has had a wonderful impact on the students, faculty, and parents. The students are able to come to school before the day starts to run, jog, or walk to become energized for the school day. And the students are not just running, they are running an average total of 135 miles each morning with over 100 students participating! Parents and teachers know which students partake each morning by their participation and focus during classes. Homeroom teachers even have their students finish a set number of laps around the playground before officially starting recess, adding to their daily miles. This September, Clayton’s PTA hosted the 2nd annual 5k and Fun Run event, called Hit the Ground Running to involve the community.
The growth and success of GYM have not gone unnoticed. Last fall, the program was the runner-up of the Fire Up Your Feet award and a $250 grant. This year, it won first place and a $1,500 grant, along with a Walk in Circles Award from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center! Clayton Elementary is also registered to participate in the national Billion Mile Race with over 8,800 schools and 2 million students registered, but remains in the top 3 schools despite their small size!
To learn more about Clayton Elementary School go to their website: http://cherokeek12.net/claytones/
To learn more about the Billion Miles Race go to their website: https://www.billionmilerace.org/default