There are some very cool things happening at the top of the hill at Double Peak School. The new K8 school that opened last fall is already taking advantage of opportunities to create a unique culture and community – and the students are truly leading the way.
In May, Specialized Foundation announced that Double Peak School (DPS) would be one of 20 schools in the country to receive the Riding for Focus Grant. This innovative program integrates cycling into the physical education curriculum. Schools selected for the grant receive curriculum training at the Specialized Headquarters, as well as an invitation to the Riding for Focus Health and Education Summit to be hosted by Stanford University.
In addition to the curriculum, which is designed for schools of all types and sizes, recipients receive a fleet of bikes, helmets, maintenance equipment, and local retailer support and maintenance. The goal of the program is to establish a sustainable school cycling physical education program that lasts for multiple years.
Why the focus on cycling? Recent studies have shown that cycling has positive effects on academic performance, health and well being, especially in providing focus for students with learning differences such as ADHD. The Specialized Foundation was formed to promote cycling as a tool for middle-school-aged children to improve focus and to advance the understanding of how riding bikes can help improve the social, emotional, and physical well being of children.
The Riding for Focus Grant is bringing the benefits directly to students while also collaborating to collect data and demonstrate the measurable benefits in academic performance as well as fitness in hopes of providing more cycling programs in schools everywhere.
The grant application process was incredibly competitive as hundreds of schools applied. DPS students really led the charge by creating a video to show the grant committee how DPS would contribute to the program and it was fantastic for students to see their initiative and commitment pay off by receiving the grant.
Riding for Focus is providing 30 bikes for DPS to use to provide cycling in 6th – 8th grade PE classes. DPS will also be collaborating with Stanford University to prove that riding bikes during PE class improves over all mood, health, academic performance, and focus by sharing data they gather through the POLAR watches and the POLAR GOFIT Program already in progress there on campus.
Cycling is also a perfect way for students to take advantage of the amazing trail system surrounding the school and to foster a sense of community. Last year, students formed a mountain bike club where students meet up to ride and explore local trails and that club is already in full swing again this year.
The Riding for Focus program is a perfect example of the type of creative, student-led innovation that is alive and thriving on campus at DPS. Students are encouraged at every level to take responsibility for their own learning and to practice leadership skills in a variety of ways so they can find their voice and their unique talents. Whether in music, engineering, technology, coding, robotics, science, design, art, athletics, or academics, DPS students are having a fantastic time exploring their individual interests and gifts and how they tie into the larger community. And the staff and administration are continually impressed at the magic that happens when students step up and communicate their ideas and their ongoing willingness to learn and try new things.