‘Active body, active mind:’ New Tacoma school brings exercise into the classroom

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TACOMA — It’s a new approach to keep kids active and healthy. Next fall, Tacoma Public Schools will launch an innovative incorporating exercise and nutrition into the curriculum.

Thrive at Jason Lee will admit up to 90 sixth graders for the 2017-2018 school year. Principal Christine Brandt says Thrive evolved from a summer school program that combined fitness and learning. Her new school’s philosophy is “active body, active mind.”

“Our kids are more electronically connected,” said Brandt. “They go outside less, so they are less active.”

Classrooms will have exercise bikes for students. There will also be activities including yoga and swimming. Brandt and her Thrive teachers believe exercise improves performance in the classroom.

“Thrive is going to help all kids. It’s not to really breed that super athlete. It’s about having a healthy body which is going to lead to a healthy mind,” said teacher Krystal Keller.

The innovative school will be located on the same campus as Jason Lee Middle School. Each year another grade level will be added. The pilot project is for grades six through eight at the school, but depending on the outcome could eventually extend to one school with grades six through 12, according to Tacoma Public Schools.

Last month, Jason Lee Middle School unveiled a new fitness center. The school received $100,000 grant from the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Council. The district says the grant recognized the school’s innovative approach to physical education.

Parents and students can meet with the principal and teachers to learn more about Thrive. The school is currently seeking applicants. Here’s a list of the upcoming information sessions:

  • Franklin Elementary: Thursday, Nov 3, 6 p.m.
  • Jason Lee Middle School: Thursday, Nov 10, 6 p.m.

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