Redondo Union High School Gets Students Moving for 60 Minutes a Day
Redondo Union at-a-Glance
Redondo Beach is one of the three “beach cities” in Los Angeles County, California. “We are fortunate because we live next to the beach—many of our kids can ride bikes or skateboard to school,” said Redondo Union High School Assistant Principal Jens Brandt. Its favorable climate coupled with the school’s commitment to improving physical activity opportunities through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is paying dividends for student health.
Physical Education Boosts Fitness Scores
As they prepare for college, high school students are often focused on academics. But Redondo Union knows that active kids learn better, and therefore puts a focus on kids developing healthy, active lifestyles. The school requires students to take physical education during ninth and tenth grades; and physical education classes range from 45-90 minutes three times per week, giving kids plenty of time to work up a sweat at school.
3 Steps to Get Kids Moving More
1. Don't reinvent the wheel. Research which physical activity programs have worked in schools that are similar to your school in size and population.
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.
The program’s efforts are paying off: “Our physical fitness scores are going up every single year. Eighty-seven percent of our students are passing the physical fitness test in ninth grade, which is just remarkable!” said Jens.
Athletics Provide Many Ways to Get Kids Moving
Students can choose to join an athletic team in place of or in addition to physical education class at Redondo. The teams practice year-round and their workouts are part of the school day, illustrating the school’s commitment to keeping kids moving. One-third of Redondo Union’s students are part of an athletic team and about 20 percent of the school’s teachers double as coaches.
Variety is key to participation—students can choose from about 20 different athletic programs, including soccer, volleyball, cross country, tennis, water polo, basketball, track, surfing and football. 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.”
If students don’t want to join a team, they can also become part of the FIT club—one of more than 70 student-led clubs at Redondo Union. Together, FIT club members participate in fitness classes outside of school and promote health during the school day through fitness challenges. During their last “plank off,” one student held the pose for more than 13 minutes!
Staff Lead By Example
Redondo Union’s healthy culture has spread beyond the students. Outside of school, students can find Jens and other staff members biking or running along the community’s miles of coastline.
During a football game last year, Redondo staff played a scrimmage against a rival school’s staff during halftime. The students cheered their teachers on as they sprinted up and down the field. These types active role modeling are just one of the many ways Redondo Union is creating an active culture for its students.