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Woodstock District 200 wins $550,000 fitness grant

WOODSTOCK – School District 200 will be awarded more than half a million dollars in federal grant money to develop fitness and nutrition programs.

The district has won a cut of Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) funding, which is designed to help schools and agencies start, expand or enhance physical education and nutrition education programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grades. This year, $33 million will go to 67 grant winners, including three in Illinois.

District 200 – which will receive $550,000 – is just the second McHenry County entity to be awarded a PEP grant, and the first since Richmond-Burton High School received one in 2002 – the program's second year in existence.

"It's quite competitive, so we were very excited to get the grant," said Keely Krueger, District 200's director of grants, language and culture. "We feel it's going to bring a lot of enhancements to what we are currently doing."

The district's preliminary plans include revamping the K-5 physical education curriculum, which would involve using grant funds to buy new materials and equipment.

District officials would also use part of the funds to broaden the high school's health curriculum while "keeping that focus on teaching lifetime fitness," Krueger said.

But those ideas, submitted by the district to help secure the funding, are ultimately subject to changes or tweaks, Krueger added. She said more concrete plans for the funds will materialize as district teachers and administrators meet in the coming weeks.

"If we find that there's something else out there that's come about in the last nine months, we could do that," she said.

District 200's full proposal to the PEP grant program is for three years and nearly $1.4 million.

"There's a possibility that we could get funded additional money in year two and year three," Krueger said.

More than a decade ago, Richmond-Burton used its $250,000 grant to fight childhood obesity. They bought cardiovascular machines like treadmills and stair steppers and revamped workout facilities with the money, according to Northwest Herald archives.

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