USD 232 using grant funds to purchase CrossFit equipment for Mill Creek Middle physical education program

Students at Mill Creek Middle will soon have access to CrossFit equipment for their physical education. The USD 232 school board on March 2 agreed to accept a $10,000 grant

Students at Mill Creek Middle will soon have access to CrossFit equipment for their physical education.

The USD 232 school board on March 2 agreed to accept a $10,000 grant from the CrossFit Foundation. Those funds will be used to buy exercise equipment such as PVC pipes, light dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and plyometric boxes, and also cover costs for Justin Pickens, the school’s physical education teacher, to attend a CrossFit level 1 certification course.

Principal Josh Kindler said the equipment will be used for both boys’ and girls’ physical education classes at Mill Creek, including a two-week unit to teach the basics of functional exercise and weightlifting, according to a district memo. The equipment will also be used to support 5 to 10 minutes of daily class time that is already focused on fitness, coordination and athletic performance enhancement.

CrossFit training for Pickens will provide him with better instruction tools for proper exercise safety and technique, according to the memo.

The item had been on the school board’s consent agenda, which means the board could have accepted the grant funds without further discussion. However, the school board members decided to discuss the item further to get clarification on contract details.

Board president Danielle Heikes said she wanted to understand more about how the grant works and also discuss student safety, especially because CrossFit is “an intense program.”

District spokesperson Alvie Cater said Mill Creek students will be introduced to the concepts of CrossFit training and equipment, and the curriculum is designed for schools’ use. He understands the program will be “low intensity” for the age group.

“It’s trying to instill both healthy habits of taking care of yourself and physical activity; it’s something different that they can work into the curriculum,” Cater said. “It’s not that they’re going to stop doing what they’re doing and that’s all they’re going to do. But it just allows them to have some units that increases the opportunity for them to learn that there are other ways that you can also exercise.”

District staff acknowledged that this equipment will only be available at Mill Creek Middle and not the other middle schools. And the grant funds are extra dollars outside of the district’s budget that allows the school to purchase additional equipment, Cater said, adding that this is a one-time grant.

The school board unanimously approved acceptance of the grant. There was no public comment.