Blue Earth Area Schools Physical Education department struggled for years to find ways to incorporate the outdoor curriculum component to their PE class, especially in the brutal Minnesota winters. That all changed when the school district utilized SHIP funding to purchase snow shoes back in 2010-11. With the abundance of snow this year, students swapped their gym shoes for snowshoes and hit the trails at local Steinberg Park in Blue Earth. Brenda Smith, the middle school PE teacher at Blue Earth Area Schools explains, “Without these snowshoes purchased by SHIP, we really didn’t have a lot of options for fulfilling our outdoor curriculum requirement in the winter months. These snowshoes introduce students to an activity they might otherwise not get to experience.” In addition to utilizing the snowshoes through physical education, they can also be rented for $5 per weekend through Community Education at the school for community use. According to Dar Holmseth, Community Education Director at BEA Schools, “After using these snowshoes in physical education class, we have had a lot of community interest in rentals. Many parents came in telling me that their student came home talking about how much fun they had and asking their parents to check them out. As a result, we have had snowshoes checked out nearly every weekend this winter!”
The Faribault County Register ran a great story featuring this project and how it has impacted not only the school children but also the community! Way to go Blue Earth Area Schools!