Happy Friday Tri 4 Schools fans,

 Our theme for the month of March is Exercise to Achievement, where we will be celebrating the launch of this new program and reminding people of the link between physical health and academic achievement.  I thought it would be great to start off with an update on our program, which will start in just a few short weeks on March 24th!

Latest and Greatest: We have six schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District participating in this initial program launch – four elementary schools (Glendale, Lake View, Lindbergh, and Van Hise), and two middle schools (Sherman and Whitehorse).  Registration opened last week for the program, and half the programs are already full!  Two of the other programs are expected to fill next week, which is an incredible thing.

Some of the groups will be training every day, some will train once a week, and a few are training twice/week.  We left it up to the schools to decide what would work best with their staff and school’s other programs, but we’re excited to see so many schools wanting to practice more often.  Of course, as we are very budget-conscious, we’re being extra cognizant of the amount of time needed for prep time, coaching, and take-down time for each practice.

My favorite thing has been meeting the new teachers who are getting involved with this program.  Each program is taught by school staff, and seeing how eager the teachers are to share this information and lessons with the kids is truly inspiring!  I always assume that no one else is going to care about this as much as me, but knowing how many others are invested in the success of Tri 4 Schools and Exercise to Achievement blows me away!

Challenges: There have been a few major hurdles to getting this going.  The primary obstacle has been scheduling logistics.  We need to get kids from six different schools to a MMSD pool at least three times.  Then, we need to make sure all the kids have everything they need to participate in the program: shoes, bike, helmet, goggles, swim suits, healthy snacks, appropriate clothing, etc.  We’ve had a great amount of help from a volunteer named Marnie, who has been scouring the community asking for donations for equipment, snacks, and extra funding, so thank you for all your effort, Marnie!

The other biggest obstacle is literally huge – how do we get a fleet of thirty bikes around the city for when the kids need to do their three lessons of biking? There are two fleets of bikes and only one trailer to move them.  We’ve been trying to raise funds for a trailer to accommodate our brand new fleet of bikes, but they are very expensive and not easily found.  Right now we’re looking at other options of trying to rent trucks or vans to move them if possible.

Successes: Too many to count!  However, the biggest success I think we had was working together with DreamBikes and the MMSD’s Safe Routes to School program to write a collaborative grant asking for fleets of bikes.  We had some amazing results – Trek and Pacific Cycle donated two fleets of bikes!  There are now 30 Elementary-sized bikes and 30 Middle School-sized bikes, along with a full set of components for maintenance and upkeep provided by Planet Bike.  Amazing!  These fleets will help fund bike education and safety instruction in schools and support extra-curricular programs like ours for years to come.

If you want to get involved with Exercise to Achievement, check out our website or email me at katie@tri4schools.org.  We will especially need volunteers to help with our swim lesson days!  As always, if you feel inclined to support this program, you can make a donation online or via check to:

Tri 4 Schools

Attn: Exercise to Achievement

937 Jenna Drive

Verona, WI 53593