University Relations and Communications
MSUB students assist SHAC with health and well-being at Poly Drive Elementary School
Bike/Walk to school back in action
University Relations and Communications, 657-2266
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES —May 8, 2018 marks the start of the Bike/Walk to school program at Poly Drive Elementary. The bi-annual Bike/Walk to school program which occurs twice per year, once in the fall and once in the spring, focuses mainly on getting students, teachers, and parents involved with and encouraging physical activity. The spring session will focus mainly on biking to and from school due to better weather conditions.
The program was founded at Poly Elementary with assistance from the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), a volunteer advisory council to School District 2 dedicated to promoting nutrition, fitness and well-being among students in Billings’ schools. The Bike/Walk program works to get many students involved by providing handouts for students to track the miles that they bike or walk to school to compete for prizes offered by the faculty that are arranged from local donors, parents, and relatives. Prizes available range from extra recess periods for classrooms, passes to Steep World, and individual prizes to be placed upon student's bikes. Students that do not have a bike to ride or the proper equipment for safety, such as helmets, can get them through the school due to charitable donors from the community.
Faculty and staff provide different 'loops' that students and their parents can bike or walk to and from school each day to provide accurate mile calculations making it easy to track. Lyndsay Serpe, the coordinator of this year's event stated, "This is one of the biggest events that Poly Drive Elementary puts its time into because it supports the idea that physical activity should be fun and enjoyable for students." This program largely emphasizes the importance of physical activity among the youth in the Billings community.
According to the 2016-2017 Yellowstone County Community Health and Needs report, based on the heights/weights reported by surveyed parents, 28.8% of Yellowstone County children age 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, ranking greater than the 85th percentile. A total of 21.7% of Yellowstone County children aged 5 to 17 spend three or more hours on screen time (whether television or computer, Internet, video games, etc.) per day.
The Bike/Walk to school program runs from May 8 to May 12 giving participants several days to get involved and enjoy physical activity outside. SHAC is working with MSU Billings public relations students this semester to develop a communication plan to raise awareness about its initiatives.
Any questions regarding the program or participation can be addressed by contacting Poly Drive Elementary 406-281-6217, by contacting Lyndsey Serpe at 406-698-5536, or Mike Leo, Fitness Director for SHAC.