With over 145 schools across six districts in Los Angeles, UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind (SBSM) has unquestionably made a lasting impact on physical education in the county. After more than 20 years focusing on the installation of new fitness centers, they are now taking a deep look back at their past schools to ensure they have continued resources to maintain their fitness programs long term.
In 2015-2016, SBSM conducted an audit and visited all current school programs. During the site visits, it became apparent that schools often had high staff turnover and did not have the funding available to maintain their fitness centers. The once state-of-the-art programs became unusable in many communities where access to health resources were needed the most. This audit sparked the idea of a new support goal; the following school year, funding for maintenance grants doubled.
But still, something was missing from the equation – increased funding for equipment repairs truly did not always meet the unique needs of each school.
In the fall of 2019, Sound Body Sound Mind set out with a goal to dramatically increase its focus on its older school programs. A new support initiative, known as Program Enhancement, was developed. Unlike past funding opportunities that only provided funds for new equipment or repairs, Program Enhancement was designed to fully reconnect and reengage schools with all SBSM has to offer.
Program Enhancement provides a well-rounded assortment of tools so teachers and their school communities have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. As part of the process, schools receive professional development training on the updated SBSM fitness curriculum, training on the new nutrition curriculum, a fitness accessories set to implement the SBSM curriculum, and equipment repairs and replacements as needed.
SBSM staff are available to assist schools with program questions and serve as a liaison between SBSM and the school site. This assists schools in creating ownership of their fitness centers and maintaining vibrant programs their school.
Program Enhancement takes a specialized look at the state of each school program to evaluate its unique needs and ensure its continued success. As part of the acceptance process for Program Enhancement, SBSM analyzes health equity data from the CDC for each school and their surrounding neighborhoods. This data assists in an informed approach to fund programs where communities need it most.
The first Program Enhancement cohort included twelve schools and began in the early months of 2020. Nearly $60,000 was invested in new equipment and repairs for school fitness centers. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process, physical education teachers from these first schools will soon be invited to the new and improved professional development trainings.
The second Program Enhancement cohort launched this winter. Select schools were invited to apply and participate in this initiative based on findings from the summer preventative maintenance project. The cohort is comprised of five schools, which were prioritized for funding because they were in most need of repairs and had equipment safety concerns. This cohort is slated to be completed by February 2022.
In the spring of 2022, any SBSM school five years or older will have the opportunity to apply for the Program Enhancement process. Schools will go through an application process, followed by a site visit, and expectations agreement. Selected schools will be provided with professional development trainings, equipment repairs, and much more.
Next year’s funding is provided in part by an award from the UCLA Health Innovation Challenge’s Health Equity Pitch Contest, which SBSM won in 2021. SBSM plans to allocate over $100,000 to enhance its existing school fitness centers and programs through their Program Enhancement initiative next year.
Ultimately, all past SBSM schools who are ready to take on a new chapter with the latest SBSM program will go through the Program Enhancement process. SBSM hopes that this will be completed over the next several years, resulting in a fully engaged and resourced portfolio of supported schools throughout Los Angeles.
The Program Enhancement application portal for schools will open in the spring of 2022. Please be sure to check your email regularly and check our website for updates. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]