In 2008, NFL Network (NFLN) launched Keep Gym in School – a national initiative dedicated to restoring Physical Education in America’s schools and raising awareness about the need for organized PE as part of each child’s complete education.
NFL Network, in conjunction with its local distribution partners and NFL teams, work with one school district in four cities to select a middle school for adoption. NFLN provides each deserving school’s PE program $50,000 for capital refurbishments, equipment replacements and upgrades, and instructor salaries using “need” as the primary criteria. NFLN and its partners also collaborate with the school district to distribute football-specific lesson plans that complement the district’s existing PE curriculum. 2008 adopted schools included:
- Poe Middle School, Annandale, VA
- Jardine Middle School, Wichita, KS
- Truman Middle School, Marrero, LA
- Bethune School, Phoenix, AZ
Website and National Grant
Keep Gym in School’s online home is www.KeepGymInSchool.com featuring teaching and fitness materials, local community highlights, and partnerships with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Additionally, consumers can go online and nominate any Middle School for the KGIS $10,000 national PE grant.
NFLN Pep Rally and Minicamp: To inspire students, NFLN hosted an all-star Pep Rally and NFL-style minicamp to kick off KGIS in each market, led by an NFL player from a partner team. 2008 participants included Antwaan Randle El (Redskins); Will Shields (KC Chiefs); Deuce McAllister (New Orleans Saints); and Kurt Warner (Arizona Cardinals). At this school-wide event with cheerleaders and band, local government officials and press join in the unveiling of the adopted school’s new PE facilities and equipment.
The minicamp serves as the launch for the In-School Fitness Challenge. NFL combine-style tests assess improvements in student fitness in various categories. These fitness tests, along with effort in PE class and an essay on fitness and nutrition, provide scores for PE instructors to monitor student progress throughout the year. One winning student attends an awards weekend in NYC and the NFL Draft.
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