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Northwoods Middle receives Outride Grant - Riding for Focus 2022

OutrideResearch says that students who exercise and remain  physically active throughout the day are more motivated and engaged. They tend to do better in the classroom, too. Educators at Northwoods Middle School are ensuring that their students have every opportunity to do just that. Northwoods received a fleet of 35 mountain bikes from the Outride cycling program. The school  was chosen as a recipient of the foundation’s grant for Fall 2022. 

“I am so excited about this opportunity for the scholars at Northwoods Middle  School,” said Principal Keturah Gadson. “The partnership between our school and  Riding for Focus will allow us to introduce scholars to another healthy way to get  exercise, build relationships, manage stress, and create life-long habits that can  improve their overall wellbeing. Coach Meg Reilly has done an amazing job of coordinating this experience and I really appreciate her work to ensure that,  throughout the life of this grant, all of our students will have the opportunity to have the Riding for Focus experience.” 

Outride is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people  through cycling. Through research, school-based cycling programs, and matching  community grants, Outride harnesses the benefits of cycling for the cognitive,  socio-emotional, and physical well being of youth while also helping to cultivate  inclusive cycling communities. 

Northwoods will implement the curriculum in the Spring 2023 semester. This three year partnership will be used in physical education courses. In addition,  Northwoods has a vision of starting an afterschool cycling program.  

“We are excited to see the growth in our students both physically and from a social  emotional perspective,” said Meg Reilly, Northwoods physical education instructor. “We have partnered with Main Street Bike Shop in Summerville who will assist in  assembling the bikes and regular maintenance.” 

In addition to the mental and academic benefits, the curriculum teaches the  students basic bike safety. The students are responsible for making sure their bike  is safe to ride by conducting the basic ABC bike check (air, brakes, chain, and cranks). They each have their own helmet and they’re learning how to reach their  target heart rate and how to check it. 

Daily lessons send students peddling through various obstacle courses. There are  days when the lessons center on riding etiquette, decision-making, and best  practices. The students are learning about eye contact with vehicular drivers and  who might have the right-of-way. What started as beginner lessons inside the  gymnasium, will culminate into a final lesson on road readiness. At the end of each  school year, local law enforcement will join students on their final trek. The bikes  are built to last five or more years. Reilly plans to add to the fleet annually so as to  increase the number of students she can reach through the program. 

"We are so excited for this opportunity for the scholars at Northwoods and think  the data will support the school's academic and social-emotional goals,” said Reilly. “We are hopeful that within the three-year partnership every student at  Northwoods will have the opportunity to be part of the Outride Cycling curriculum  and gain a great appreciation for the sport of cycling and all that the sport does to  reduce stress and promote overall wellness.” 

For more information, contact Meg Reilly at (843) 764-2212.