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GF Public Schools to receive funds for fitness

Grand Forks Public Schools will receive almost $560,000 in federal funding for physical education through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant, North Dakota's congressional delegation announced Monday.

Grand Forks Public Schools will receive almost $560,000 in federal funding for physical education through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant, North Dakota's congressional delegation announced Monday.

"This is big news for the district," Superintendent Larry Nybladh said. "It's a very competitive grant."

The U.S. Department of Education will award $559,180 to the district this fall. With the money, Grand Forks Public Schools will form a partnership with schools in Manvel and Emerado, N.D., and Grand Forks Air Force Base to begin Project Xercise, a three-year plan that will help students learn the value of regular physical activity and good nutrition to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

"Really, it's focused on lifetime fitness," said Jenny Arel, executive director of the Grand Forks Foundation for Education. "It will provide additional opportunities in and outside the classroom."

The district also has partnered with Scheel's Sports, Hockey World, Safe Kids Grand Forks, the Grand Forks Public Schools' Child Nutrition Program, the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department and the Grand Forks Park District. Through the partnerships, things such as sporting equipment will be available for students to use, promoting physical activity outside of class time.

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"If they want to skate over their lunch hour, they can check out skates," Arel said. "Or check out skis for the weekend."

The district has applied for the grant twice before, Arel said, but this is the first time they've received funding.

"It's a huge opportunity for the School District," she said. "It's going to make a huge impact K-12."

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to school districts to be put toward the initiation, expansion and improvement of the physical education curricula in K-12 schools to help make progress in meeting state standards in physical education.

"Physical education programs are very important to the health of our children," said Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, both D-N.D., and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., in a statement Monday. "These programs help our kids stay in good shape and also get them thinking about important long-term health decisions."

Gibson reports on education. Reach her at (701) 787-6754; (800) 477-6572, ext. 754; or send e-mail to lgibson@gfherald.com .

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