April 12, 2018


students exercising in the classroom


MSUB students assist SHAC in promoting nutrition in Billings Schools

SHAC awards teacher’s cooperative efforts



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) created by Billings School District 2 (SD2), in partnership with The Billings YMCA, has awarded McKinley Elementary School teacher Mark Kane with a Fitness in the Classroom Innovation Award.


Kane, a fifth-grade instructor with five years’ experience at McKinley, is an enthusiastic advocate of providing “brain breaks” in the classroom. “Getting my students out of their seats and giving their minds a break throughout their day helps my students maintain their focus,” said Kane.


Kane uses an educational application built by Chrome called, “Move It!” that allows teachers to set predetermined time for physical breaks from seated education. Kane chooses every 30 minutes for the program to ring a tone of disengagement that allows students to stand up and activate their bodies.


The Move It! app then randomly selects an exercise for the class to do. Examples include stretching, dancing, running in place, and other entertaining instructions that Kane’s students happily welcome. Kane’s dedication to a healthy environment doesn’t stop there.


Every Friday, his students show off their culinary skills with “Soup Fridays.” Kane provides ingredients for his pupils to build a soup that they give to under-privileged students to take home for the weekend.


These programs have proven quite successful, and are critical to address the 39 percent of individuals in Yellowstone County who are at high risk for poor nutrition, low physical activity, and unhealthy weight, according to Riverstone Health.


The SHAC/YMCA award recognizes educators who promote fitness in the classroom with a $100 gift card to the school. Kane will allow his class to decide how to spend their reward. Ideas so far include a swimming pool exercise at the YMCA, a trampoline park trip, or a schoolyard picnic.


This semester, MSU Billings public relations students are assisting SHAC, a voluntary advisory committee to SD2 that promotes mental health, fitness, and nutrition for Billings’ public school students.


For more information, contact Dr. Sarah Keller, assistant professor of public relations, skeller@msubillings.edu or 896-5824.