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Fridley Public Schools
Stevenson 4th grade class.

Stevenson Elementary champions student empowerment, giving them a voice, the freedom to make choices, and the power to own their learning. Every year, the school focuses on one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals to take school-wide action. This year, the fourth graders chose to focus on "Good Health and Well-Being."

The goal of "Good Health and Well-Being" is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. After selecting this goal, the fourth graders suggested actions the school could take.Many ideas focused on improving the playground and recess areas.

Student chooses exercise.

In February, physical education teacher Kim Gardner created lessons for students to practice different exercises. Students then voted on which exercises they wanted to include on a grade level exercise sign that would be designed and installed in the playground and recess area. The Stevenson staff also participated and created the sixth sign.

Stevenson Elementary worked with the Anoka County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) in order to secure funding for this project. SHIP supports local communities to improve the health of all Minnesotans by expanding access to healthy foods, regular physical activity, and reducing commercial tobacco use. SHIP is a program of the Minnesota Department of Health and is coordinated at the local level through Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services. RLS was awarded a 2024 SHIP School Wellness Award to support this project. 

“This project aligned closely with the “MN Moves” goals of SHIP to increase opportunities for movement throughout the day,” said Jamie Kenealy, Anoka County SHIP Health Educator. “Additionally, the proposal stood out for a number of reasons: the direct involvement of students in decision making and implementation of the project from start to finish, as well as the accessibility of the exercise path and signage to the larger community.”

Kenealy worked closely with Kate Talafous, RLS IB-PYP Coordinator, during the application process and provided RLS all the grant details/requirements when their project was awarded funding.

Students doing DrumFit.

The annual Action Day took place on May 30. The activities for Action Day were developed by the Stevenson Action Team. This year teachers set up stations with physical and mindfulness activities promoting health and well-being. Students tried the new exercise path, enjoyed yoga, created art in the outdoor classroom, ran relay races, and participated in DrumFit. 

“A great day was had by all and we are so excited for our Stevenson Community to continue to use our newly installed Path,” reflected Talafous.

Anoka County SHIP has partnered with Fridley Public Schools since 2015 and provided support for a wide array of projects focused on improving student and staff wellness at all FPS sites (RLS, Hayes, MS, HS, Fridley Community Center, & ALC) over those years. For more information about SHIP or wellness resources for Anoka County, please visit: