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Work-out Wednesdays at Buffalo Ridge Elementary

Paige Taylor, from Evolve Lifestyle Training (bottom left) and her crew of BRE staff take a photo break after “workout Wednesday.”

Work-out Wednesdays at Buffalo Ridge Elementary promotehealth, wellness and fun camaraderie


Article and photos by Elean Gersack

The staff at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School (BRE) is getting in shape, taking charge of their health, and setting a great example for students.

It all started with a district initiative to get healthy. Then came the Rock Slide Fun Run training in September. Teachers and staff were encouraged to train with students on Wednesday mornings before school. Berggren enticed the staff by offering to let takers stay dressed in workout garb for the day.

After the Rock Slide Fun Run came and went, the staff missed the weekly before-school exercise routine. So, Principal Berggren approached Paige Taylor (BRE parent, Rock Slide chairperson and owner/personal trainer of Evolve Lifestyle Fitness) about teaching wellness to the staff.

Using a small portion of the funds raised from the Rock Slide training program (the majority went to purchase new P.E. equipment), the school offered to compensate Taylor for her time and expertise for a trial ‘Workout Wednesday’ program through December. With several weeks under her belt, Talyor is in a groove discussing healthy eating; leading circuit training; and offering encouraging words to set the tone for the staff to have a great day.

“I’m doing it to be healthy, to have fun with my co-workers, and it’s great because I can dress casual on these days,” said Amy Jaramillo, fourth-grade teacher.

On Wednesday, November 10, Taylor brought in a bottle full of bacon grease to display its’ congealing properties and show first hand how easily it can cause blocked arteries. At the end of the session, she offered bananas as a post workout treats while boasting the importance of fruit in daily diets.

“A huge benefit we have seen from this program is staff morale,” said Berggren. “People are losing weight, but not for vanity reasons – it’s about feeling good,” she said.

It’s also about setting an example. Without the need for an entire lesson plan, teachers are bringing learning back to the classroom and encouraging students to think about being healthy, too. “Teachers are incredible role models and there is a huge trickle down effect. Seeing your teacher make healthy choices makes a lasting impression,” said Taylor.

The staff continues to expand wellness at the school. On any given day, teachers and staff can be found ‘walking and talking’ as they burn calories by walking laps around the interior of the school. “We stay moving and accomplish important tasks at the same time,” said Berggren.

To complement “workout Wednesdays”, Physical Education teacher, Ronda Gutierrez, recently started “Moving and Grooving Mondays.” Mrs. Kennedy has started soliciting running partners after school and Mrs. Brester gets students up and moving to increase blood flow before tests.

“This is a P.E. teacher’s dream,” said Gutierrez. Gutierrez is taking note of wellness excellence. Each week, Gutierrez recognizes a staff member, in front of her class, with a “Wellness Champ” medal. “Wellness is catching,” said Gutierrez.

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