Suffolk recognizes district for innovative health curriculum
L-R: Hal Kramer (Lions Club), Dr. Linda Mermelstein (Suffolk Co. Health Services), Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, RCSD Superintendent Nancy Carney, Legislator Al Krupski, Pulaski Principal David Densieski, Assistant Principal Steve Hudson, Joe Leek (The Brickman Group), Demetrios Kadenas (Peconic Bay Medical Center); Back (L-R): Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction David Wicks and Dir. of Health, PE and Athletics William Groth.
(June 11, 2014 - Riverhead, NY) County Executive Steve Bellone, Legislator Al Krupski and Dr. Linda Mermelstein, Chief Deputy Commisioner Department of Health Services, recognized Riverhead School District for a successful one-year implementation of the “Project Fit America" (PFA) program to encourage health and wellness in the District's elementary schools. PFA is a national public charity, which creates and donates state-of-the-art outdoor fitness equipment, an indoor fitness program, teacher training and curriculum to the school district based on their commitment to the health of their students.
The recognition ceremony included a demonstration of the Project Fit America Program’s outdoor exercise stations by Pulaski students in Donna Elmore's fifth grade class on PFA state of the art fitness equipment -- a freestanding structure of seven work out areas that include: a horizontal ladder, parallel bars, pull-up bars, a pole climbing station, a sit-up station, step test station and a vault bar -- after a presentation of recognition by County Executive Bellone.
According to a letter recently received from the Suffolk County Department of Health Service, this program was unanimously chosen an outstanding example of “an exceptional health and wellness program” and a worthy recipient of a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) award.
An important part of the program includes the enthusiasm with which the students embrace the program. "The kids have really taken to the program," said Pulaski Street physical education teacher Rebecca Winkel. “They are extremely motivated to exercise. They are always excited to beat their own personal records - to go from bronze, to silver to gold - it’s absolutely made a difference.”
The District’s collaboration with PBMC, the Suffolk County Lions, and Project Fit America is a perfect example of the type of programs promoted by the newly established “Long Island Health Collaborative,” which was developed by hospitals and the Health Departments of Suffolk and Nassau Counties with the assistance of The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council to develop and implement a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The objective of the CHIP is to partner with community agencies to develop and monitor programs to improve the quality of health of the community.
Riverhead is the FIRST SCHOOL in the State of New York to win a grant for this amazing fitness program, which is conducted during physical education classes and was put in place at the beginning of this school year. The realization of the program was due to a partnership between Project Fit America, the Riverhead Central School District, the Peconic Bay Medical Center and the Suffolk County Lions Club Diabetes Education Foundation. Both PBMC and the Lions contributed $60,000 each to finance the implementation of the program at all four of the District's elementary schools and the Pulaski Street School. In addition The Brickman Group provided the installation and landscaping of the outdoor exercise areas at all five Riverhead elementary schools.
Click on photo to see Kick-Off Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of PFA.