If you swing by Leawood Elementary School in South Jeffco on a Friday afternoon, you might see students wearing pink, purple or red.
These aren’t the latest fashion trends. The colors are being worn by the students to show support for teachers and other school employees who are competing for the most workout minutes before March 20.
Ari Goldberg, Leawood’s principal, said the staff has broken into three teams and is competing to see which can compile the most workout minutes. Each team logs its minutes every other Friday in a shared online document, and the team with the most minutes logged by March 20 will be the winner.
The winning team every other week gets a few Gatorades, or a similar small prize. What does the team that wins overall get?
“Coupons for ice cream,” Goldberg joked, adding that the grand prize hasn’t been determined yet.
It all started when the school’s staff wanted to create a wellness program.
“None of us wanted to get on a scale, so measuring lost pounds was out,” Goldberg said with a laugh. “So we decided to see who could have the most minutes.
“It’s become quite the competition.”
The second-year principal is going to have to step it up, though. As of Feb. 20, his team — the pink team — had compiled 5,278 minutes. The red team had 6,862 minutes, and the purple team was way out in front with 8,330 minutes.
“When the flu came through a couple weeks ago, a lot of us got sick,” Goldberg said. “I’m trying to make it up this week.”
Whichever team wins, they’re all having fun and losing weight at the same time.
“We have fun with it,” Goldberg said. “That’s been the best part — just having fun with it. One man told me he’s lost 11 pounds. It’s been a great motivating factor.”
Stevenson named Woman of the Year
The Arvada-Northwest Business and Professional Women has named Jeffco Public Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson Woman of the Year. She was judged on her contributions to the district and the community, and how those contributions have helped other women succeed.
“I’m not the kind of person who wins awards,” Stevenson said. She added that being nominated by two legislators was “a real surprise, because it’s something I didn’t expect.”
Stevenson, who runs the state’s largest school district with more than 80,000 students, said she just goes to work every day.
“I’m really honored. I don’t think I do anything special. I think I do my job, but the recognition is really nice. I greatly appreciate it,” Stevenson said.
She concedes that winning the award is a “little bittersweet” after her efforts failed to win approval for a tax increase for the district in the November 2008 election.
“When we do pursue elections, I do work hard on it on my own time,” Stevenson said. “On the other hand, it’s probably a separate issue. This honor is based on the long term, as opposed to that one event.”
She did say she would trade the award for a tax increase “in a minute.”
“Because that’s about the kids,” she said.
That said, she’s thrilled with the award, which was formally presented to her Feb. 28 at a banquet. The award is important because she wants to show young people that they can succeed with effort and determination.
“I have a niece who’s a senior in high school,” Stevenson said. “I saw her, and she said she was coming to the (banquet). If I can be an example for the kids I love, my nieces, that means a lot to me. Plus, I’m sure she had a better offer on a Saturday night.”
Contact AJ Vicens at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, with news about South Jeffco schools.