Fred Crawford, January 22, 2014
More than 40 percent of Greenville County students were labeled as overweight or obese in 2008, and schools across the nation are failing to implement healthy school lunches or physical education programs. In fact, in today s public school system, less than 4 percent of elementary schools and less than 8 percent of middle schools provide daily physical education. So what happens when a school a free public school embraces the challenge of tackling childhood obesity? What happens when a school goes against the grain and decides to serve healthy student lunches and implement 45-minute physical education classes 5 days a week? Legacy Charter School (LCS) is proof that good things can happen. Julian Reed, Ed.D., M.P.H., recently announced the completion of his third year of studies on students at LCS. For three consecutive years, the Furman University health sciences professor has compared LCS student data to the data of students at local control schools with similar demography, monitoring not only the students fitness measures and BMIs, but their cognitive abilities as well. His findings are astounding. In year three, LCS students exhibited a statistically significant increase on 47 percent of the cognitive measures, compared to 28 percent for the control students. In particular, LCS middle school students exhibited increases on 80 percent of the fluid intelligence sections, compared to a zero percent increase for control middle school students. These findings prove that when students exercise, their brains reap the benefits as well as their bodies. Exercise increases cognitive skills and abilities, giving our children the tools they need to perform better academically. Additionally, Dr. Reed recorded fitness measures for LCS students and control students. He found that LCS students had statistically significant improvements on 75 percent of the fitness measures compared to no significant increases in any of the fitness measures for control school students in year three. In fact, control students exhibited a 66 percent decrease on the fitness measures. Children at Legacy Charter School could perform push-up, curl-up and aerobic tests better than the control students. Legacy Charter School students also exhibited a significant decrease in the percentage of overweight or obese youth in year three, while the control schools witnessed an increase in obesity and overweight youth. Childhood obesity is not only a problem for Greenville County and other South Carolinians, but the nation as a whole. All over the country, budget cuts and government-mandated education laws are forcing schools to cut back on physical education. Schools that have tried to implement healthy cafeteria lunches have faced backlash from students who opt to discard their fruits and vegetables in favor of junk food like potato chips. Many schools are failing in the fight against childhood obesity. However, the statistics from this groundbreaking study show LCS is doing something right. At LCS, we are committed to educating, motivating and empowering kids to succeed. We do this not only through a rigorous and quality educational program, but through our commitment to fitness and nutrition. Physical education classes are implemented every day, while students healthy breakfasts and lunches are prepared under the guidance of a registered dietician. The menu features food appealing to school-aged children while also incorporating the use of whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are no vending machines on campus. And, rather than using the deep fat fryer as a preparation method, hot foods are baked, broiled, steamed or grilled. Research demonstrates that children are more likely to lead an unhealthy lifestyle if one or both parents practice the same unhealthy habits. To encourage a healthy lifestyle for all, parents, as well as faculty and staff, can use the newly renovated LCS fitness facility Monday through Saturday. The facility contains more than 30 exercise machines, including stationary bikes, treadmills and weight machines, and a free childcare program gives parents a place for their children while they take advantage of the exercise facilities. When LCS mandates exercise, we are teaching kids the importance of a healthier lifestyle; research shows that people who exercise live longer and have fewer health problems than those who do not. But even more than that, our fitness-based curriculum enables students to perform better in school and puts them in the position to be all they can be forward-thinking, contributing members of society.
I have had the honor of being part of the growth of Legacy Charter Elementary School since it began 3 years ago in our new building on West Washington. I have watched the growth of less than 200 students to over 500 today. I have watched our special teachers become stronger with their craft of teaching each day. The teachers are the heart of our school. They are dedicated to their students and are determined for each student to find success! They think out of the box to put in place interventions needed for each child. Legacy Elementary offers a unique experience for all of our children. We have an extended day until 4pm and an extensive afterschool program. We offer experiences on Saturdays and during the summer. We are a health and wellness school providing PE every day as well as 3 healthy meals. We have a focus on music that allows our little ones experiences with percussion, strings, and general music each day. Our students take ownership in daily activities such as safety patrol, student council, school store, student run post office, FitKids Club, etc. We also provide monthly field trips to extend experiences outside the classroom. Come visit us to see us in action!
I am blown away by what is going on at Legacy Charter. I am a teacher here and wouldn't trade it for anything. These teachers care so much about the student's success and work very hard to ensure it. We do house points which has had a very positive outcome. The principals care about every at Legacy and do so much to show it. I am proud to work at Legacy Charter School.
To start, Legacy Charter School is AWESOME!! It's awesome because it provides the students we serve with opportunities I think the wouldn't get in others schools. As you walk down the hallways, pictures of our students line the walls with their achievements that they have made so far; which boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem. Students are taught social-skills that will help them as they grow. We are the only school in SC right now that provides students with PE everyday. We are the only charter school that bus in students. Teachers are alive and vibrant; they go the extra mile to help students achieve their goals both in class and out of class. We are lead, at the elementary level, by two of the most caring and supportive principals I have ever been blessed to work with. When you have great leadership combined with a great sense of humor and insight about students; it makes for a wonderful place to want to work.
Legacy elementary is the most child-centered school I have seen in recent years. the schedule, the activities, the after -school program and the daily lessons are planned with students as the main focus. Children are taught social skills, manners, and all academic areas. The leadership at the schools is exceptional. Parent involvement workshops boast excellent speakers such as Larry Bell and Dr. Montrio Belton among others. The facilities are beautiful and growing monthly. Uniforms alleviate many problems that may be evident in other schools.
This is an excellent school, where health and fitness are made a priority. They have PE 5 days a week for 50 minutes (40 min on Fridays) which has proven to improve student cognition. This will give them an edge health-wise and in the classroom with focus/concentration.
I really enjoy working with my students and watching them succeed academically. Legacy Charter is a great place to be!
Legacy Charter is comprised of dedicated teachers who know how to get results. Faculty, staff and the student body make up a diverse population at an extended day school. Teachers/staff offer and support many supplemental efforts on top of rigorous academic curriculum such as an extensive music program, reading/writing/math intervention, the Lion's College Club afterschool program and much more! Legacy also offers physical education class everyday!
Wonderful school!! Teachers and administration care deeply about each student!! Hard working staff determined to change the lives of all students.
My grand daughter is on track to earn college credits while in high school.She is academically stimulated and enamored with the courses she is taking. Small classes, uniforms, sports,and dedicated teachers make this one of the best public schools in the district. It's great to see the Parker High campus active as a community school again.
Legacy's academic, arts and athletic programs are wonderful. The school fitness & nutrition model is second to none and the early college opportunities at Greenville Technical College is outstanding.
My daughter has attended fuller nornal since she was three years old. She is now in the second grade, I really loved the school until she started second grade this year(2011),she has been bulled by the same little boy every week since school has started. The two last major problems that we had that made me pull her out of this school which is now known as Legacy charter school was when the bully put a pencil up my daughter's noise while she was asleep on her desk, then two weeks later he pulled a chair from under her causing her to hit her head and recieve an concussion neither incident I was not informed by the teacher nor the principal of what had happen to after the fact! they didnt even have sense enough to send my daughter to the nurse to be accessed.Idon't know where these teachers and principal get their training but they need to go back for retraining! ! I don't understand this and when I tried to get answers on what happen and why I get ATTITUDES! I will never let my child attend Legacy Charter school again!
i have 3 kids attending Fuller Normal I love the school. The teachers are great. Every charter school has its problems but I know that with some more parent involvement and teachers help Fuller Normal will be the best charter school around.
My daugther went to Montessori school for 3 three yrs and they are wonderful schools but since she's been at FNTCS she has advanced in every subject. I think with the small classes there's more one on one which is very well needed. Her teacher Amy Dobbs is one of the best teachers that anyone could ask for and that makes a difference as well. I'm pleased to say I'm proud my child goes to FNTCS.
I have worked at several schools in the Greenville area in the public and private sector, and I remain exceedingly impressed with Fuller Normal. The parents of students in my class are very involved and the administrative support is second to none!
This school does not have the staff to meet the challenges its student body requires. Great concept but severally inept to take on the respondsibility the student body imposes. It has become a school of convenience for the parents rather than one of excellence.
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