SPS-Pocock indoor rowing program goes nationwide

SPS-Pocock indoor rowing program goes nationwide
Posted on 03/10/2015

Thousands of Seattle Public Schools students learn how to row every year, using indoor rowing machines brought into their school gyms, thanks to a district partnership with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation. Last week, the Foundation announced that they are taking the Seattle program nationwide through a new partnership with USRowing.

The program, called Erg Ed™, began about five years ago, when the district’s Program Manager for Physical Education and Health Literacy, Lori Dunn, was looking for ways to bring more physical education and health opportunities into the schools.

“We knew every one of our schools was within five miles of water,” Dunn said. “But not every child was going to be able to do swimming and learn about water safety.”

<>The indoor rowing program had the potential to give students a great workout, education about how their bodies work and even some water safety skills. And, the George Pocock Rowing Foundation was willing to support the program by providing all of the rowing machines, scheduling with the schools, maintaining and delivering the machines to each school, and training teachers to incorporate rowing into curriculum. (See what it looks like in the video below, an excerpt from an upcoming episode of School Beat TV.)

“Erg Ed is great because it meets students where they are – in the classroom – and it’s an explicit invitation to young people to try something new, particularly to youth who would never otherwise think of rowing,” said Karla Landis, deputy director of the Pocock Foundation, in announcing the new partnership with USRowing.

The foundation and Seattle Public Schools started with a one-year-pilot and one set of rowing machines. Then, they signed on for a three-year pilot. Today, the indoor rowing program is available to all middle-school students in 21 Seattle public schools and is being piloted in two high schools under a five-year agreement between the district and the Pocock Foundation.

“The bottom line is: It worked,” Dunn said. “It has a fitness component, it has an equity component, it has water safety and it’s for every student.”

For the George Pocock Rowing Foundation and USRowing, going nationwide creates “new pathways to the boathouse,” opening rowing to kids who wouldn’t have had the opportunity to climb into a rowing shell.

For Seattle Public Schools, the partnership gives students another way to be active, learn and have fun – all at the same time.

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