The New, Free Program Helping PE Teachers Keep Kids Moving

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The coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected many professions, and it’s no secret that teachers have more on their plate right now than ever before. Heading into the 2020-2021 school year, public schools are preparing for major changes in learning structures and unprecedented budget cuts that will see many classroom teachers adding the responsibility of safe physical activity to their job descriptions. In an effort to meet the shifting needs of educators across the country, Marathon Kids Connect, a digital lap-tracking app and cloud-based reporting platform from Austin-based nonprofit Marathon Kids, was released this month free of charge for teachers, PE teachers, and coaches.

Marathon Kids Connect is a cloud-based Run Club management platform that provides a digital lap-tracking app along with educational resources and reporting capability. The app streamlines the process of monitoring and recording students’ physical activity, making it easier than ever for coaches to accurately track each runner’s progress. PE teachers simply scan students’ ID cards to upload their lap times and generate impact reports that highlight achievements such as the class’s average length of activity, total miles run and marathons completed. These quick reports allow coaches to share at-a-glance and in-depth accomplishments with principals and district leaders, ensuring that state-mandated physical activity minutes are met each year. The Marathon Kids Connect app does not require WiFi, making scanning from a phone or tablet accessible at any location.

In addition to unlimited Marathon Kids Connect access, each classroom welcome bundle includes a group tracking poster, at-home movement cards, a starter pack of the brand new sticker-based reward system, and safe distance guidelines that ensure safety when exercising indoors or out. Coaches are also equipped with downloadable lesson plans that make it easy for new and experienced PE teachers to help their students meet physical education requirements. Free online training videos and content modules, which cover topics like Behavior Adoption Strategies that Build Self-Efficacy and Integrating Social-Emotional Learning with Physical Activity, as well as fun running games complement Run Club and are available on the Marathon Kids Connect website.

While this free online platform has all the tools that coaches need to get their students moving this school year, exercise does not have to be limited to on campus. With Marathon Kids Connect, parents are encouraged to take an active part in their child’s physical activity. A personalized parent dashboard lets them monitor progress from home and shows their child’s achievements in real-time. The user-friendly interface comes complete with a messaging system that bridges the gap between school and home, making it easy for parents to connect with coaches and submit additional miles covered outside of PE class. As extensions of Run Club, moms and dads play a valuable part in helping their child reach the four marathon goal, one mile at a time.

Reduced school budgets in response to COVID-19 could jeopardize PE departments in even the most well-funded districts. However, at a time when kids need the mental health benefits that come with regular physical activity more than ever, Marathon Kids Connect provides a simple, free solution for students, teachers, and parents alike. With this unique program, the team at Marathon Kids hopes to reach more runners and continue helping children discover the joys of physical activity.

"At Marathon Kids, we believe every kid deserves to lead a happy, healthy, active life,” says Cami Hawkins, CEO of Marathon Kids. “That’s why we’ve made our physical activity programming for schools and community organizations completely free—free for PE teachers, free for classroom teachers, free for any parent or volunteer who would like to be an agent of change in their community."

Please note this is a sponsored post