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Principal’s Blog



I am proud to announce that Fairhaven Middle School has been recognized for its outstanding efforts around getting students and staff moving. Let’s Move! Active Schools, a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, recently presented Fairhaven with the 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award. Because we know physical activity translates to student success both in the classroom and in life, we are proud to receive this honor for our entire school community’s efforts around enhancing physical education and physical activity opportunities for our students.

I talked with our Health/Fitness teachers this week to find out more about this award and how things have changed in the class over the last several years as they transitioned from the concept of Physical Education (PE) and what we now call Health/Fitness. Here is what they had to say.



Question: Fairhaven has recently been congratulated on receiving the 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools Award by Michelle Obama. How did Fairhaven come about earning this award? What does this Award entail for our school and students?


Fairhaven MS was honored by being one of the recipients of the National Let’s Move Active Schools Award for the 2016 and 2017 school year.  Let’s Move! Active Schools was created by Michelle Obama to encourage all children to be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day and asking their Health/Fitness Teachers to take a dynamic role in making sure this happens. 

In December of 2014, Fairhaven Middle School and Bellingham High School applied together for and received the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) Grant funded through OSPI and the CDC.  The following year, we brought Cordata Elementary School on board so all three grade levels were represented in our district.  This grant provides funds for the teachers in the schools to find ways to make sure all students have access to 60 minutes of physical activity per day through the following five areas: 1. Before and After School Programs, 2. During the School Day Activities, 3. Family & Community Engagement, 4. Staff Involvement and 5. Physical Education (classes).

As a result of this grant, we assessed whether all FMS students had the opportunity to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every single day.  Then we began implementing changes that would help deliver 60 minutes of physical activity for all students every day in the five areas listed above.  1. In conjunction with our intramural program, we began to offer an open gym to all students before school.  2. We implemented trainings during our Professional Development time to teach all of our staff ways to incorporate “brain energizers” into their classroom instruction time, in order to help refocus students as well as provide students extra activity time.   3. We invited community groups to join our Health/Fitness classes for presentations as well as provide opportunities for students to join the after school activities they represented.   4. Our entire staff was challenged to model healthy lifestyles to students through a variety of methods.  5.  And finally, we made sure our school Health/Fitness classes were meeting our district, state and national standards and provided as much activity time as possible.  

The funds we received from this grant enabled us to purchase three Skillastics games (fitness based games for students to participate in small groups) so that all our classes could play the games at the same time; nine Frisbee golf targets and Sub mile t-shirts honoring those students who run the mile in less than 6 and 7 minutes

These and other already estpush-upsablished procedures and activities enabled Fairhaven Middle School to meet and exceed the qualifications for the National Let’s Move! Active Schools Award.  This award is the most prestigious award given to Health/Fitness Educators and their programs.  In our district, only three schools, Bellingham High School, Cordata Elementary and Fairhaven Middle School received this award.  The Health/Fitness Team at FMS are very proud of this award and are excited to continue to find ways to get all FMS students physically active!




Question: How is Health/Fitness class different than a PE class that parents might have experienced in their school days?


FMS Health/Fitness classes are not just skill based.  Our classes focus on individual fitness, concepts along the way. Each activity in our health and fitness classes follow the Washington State & National Physical Education and Health standards.  Please check out the link below.


Question: What are somethings that you would really want parents to know about Fairhaven’s Health/Fitness classes?


The goal of our class is to teach students the concepts of health and fitness and how they relate to activities and sports, while enhancing lifelong success.


Three classes meet in the gym every afternoon.  Each class has approximately 30 students.  We list Learning Targets on the whiteboard, just like in academic classes.  Students are expected to know what they should be able to do by the end of class.  All three Fairhaven Health/Fitness teachers collaborate regularly and team teach to all classes.  This year we have access to a portable which will enable us to provide better opportunities to teach health concepts in a classroom setting. 



Question: What are you most looking forward to doing with your students this year?


The great thing about team teaching is we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Here is what we are each excited about for this school year:

Mrs. Peckler –Tchoukball, Bike Unit & Frisbee Golf

Mrs. Gunnels – Gobble Wobble, Boot Camp Week & Grizzly Relay

Mr. Lund –  Introducing new International Games


I want to thank the Fairhaven Health/Fitness team for their contributions to our students and staff. They are a valuable part of our Fairhaven community.


Grrrrr, Grizzlies!!


Robert Kalahan

Fairhaven Principal

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