By the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
High school is an uncertain time for many teens as they prepare to transition to their next stage of life. According to Assistant Principal Jens Brandt of Redondo Union High School, what better time to equip students with the skills they need to develop healthy, active lifestyles?
Jens believes that investing in his students’ physical health has a positive effect on their academic performance and sets them up for lifelong success. That’s why Redondo Union has worked with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program offer ample opportunities to get students moving.
Physical Education Teaches the Fundamentals
Redondo Union students have physical education classes for 45-90 minutes three times per week during ninth and tenth grades. Physical education teachers follow California’s State Board of Education standards and place a strong emphasis on core strength and cardiovascular fitness. The first 15 minutes of every physical education class is dedicated to plank holds, sit-ups, push-ups and squats, and students have an opportunity to improve their 1-mile run time each week.
“Our physical fitness scores are going up every single year. Eighty-nine percent of our students are passing the physical fitness test in ninth grade, which is just remarkable!” said Jens.
Variety in Athletics Encourages Participation
Physical education sets the tone for an active school environment, but kids aren’t just staying fit through physical education. More than a third of students are also part of an athletic team and about 20 percent of the school’s teachers double as coaches. Jens has found that variety is key to participation. At Redondo Union, there’s something for everyone; students can choose from soccer, volleyball, cross country, tennis, water polo, basketball, track, surfing, football and more!
In addition to a number of state-level championship titles, Jens points to academic performance as an example of the athletic program’s success: “The average GPA for our student athletes is 3.3 compared to 3.0 for students overall. That really attests to the benefits of being physically active.”
Healthy Role Models Encourage Success
Staff at Redondo Union believe in walking the talk. Outside of school, students can find faculty and school staff biking or running along the community’s miles of coastline. During school, staff play 5-on-5 basketball tournaments and Jens has been known to jump into basketball games with students during free time. “During a football game last year, the staff of our school played against our rival staff during halftime and the kids got a huge kick out of that,” he said. “They appreciated that we were running up and down the field—trying our best, too.”