Each year, the U.S. Department of Education awards millions of dollars in PEP grants to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education and nutrition education programs for students in grades K-12. Portville Central School applied for, and received, such a grant in 2012. One of the rules of using the PEP grant funds is that the school must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards for physical education. These programs must undertake instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition and physical fitness activities that include at least one of the following:
· fitness education and assessment to help students understand, improve, or maintain their physical well-being
· instruction in a variety of motor
skills and physical activities designed to enhance the physical, mental, and
emotional development of every student
· development of and instruction in
cognitive concepts about motor skills and physical fitness that support a
· opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation and
· opportunities for professional
development for physical education teachers to stay abreast of the latest
and trends in the field of physical education.
Once Portville obtained the grant, we decided to go after getting a Ropes Challenge Course built behind the school and to have a rock climbing wall installed in the south gym. It has been 3 years in the making, but the dream has finally been achieved, thanks to Redpoint Adventures and the Portville Central School Maintenance staff!
While the course was being built, Superintendent Tom Simon couldn’t help but think about former Technology/Ag teacher, the late Bernice Pierson. Mrs. Pierson was tragically killed in an automobile accident in August of 2012, days before the start of school was to begin. Bernice began working at Portville Central School in 1998 and was an avid outdoors person. She loved to watch her students tackle a project in her technology classes and in the Lego League that she pioneered here at Portville. It didn’t take long to decide that the ropes course would be named “The Pierson Challenge Course” in memory of this wonderful teacher.
The Pierson Challenge Course, the first of its kind in the area, was dedicated on May 21, 2015.