Recently, Franklin Community Middle School was awarded a grant from Outride, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of youths through cycling.
As part of Franklin Community Schools’ focus on providing new and engaging experiences to students, Superintendent Dr. Clendening and FCMS PE teachers Cord Dorsey and Mindy Bangel began discussing the idea of introducing cycling as part of the physical education curriculum.
“The cycling program would be another unit provided in PE, similar to our swimming unit and weight lifting unit,” Dorsey said. “I think it’s important to give students multiple avenues toward enjoying physical fitness.”
The Riding for Focus grant program provided FCMS with 35 bikes and helmets, the curriculum, and an intensive teacher training program. Both Dorsey and Bangel have completed the training and are currently offering the cycling course during the middle school’s enrichment time and to Mr. Dorsey’s PE classes. Students not only learn how to ride but also about bike safety and how to care for the equipment.
“Not every student wants to become an in-school athlete,” Dorsey said. “By offering them experiences such as weight lifting and cycling, we improve the chances of students becoming active and healthy as they mature.”
Outride’s Riding for Focus is a middle school-based program that promotes cycling as an outlet for students to improve their mental and physical well-being. According to their website, they have established over 225 Riding for Focus school programs across the United States and Canada since 2014.