Principal Chad Erickson and faculty members set healthy example for students with weekly step count contests.
Bay Haven School of Basics Plus Principal Chad Erickson received a Fitbit fitness tracker for Father’s Day last June.
“I got my wife one and I didn’t want one,” Erickson said.
But when the school year started Erickson started to wear it to work. He and a few other teachers who own Fitbits realized that the device allows them to invite one another to a group that keeps score of their steps.
Now, the phrase often heard around the Bay Haven's campus is “Do it for the steps,” as teachers and administrators encourage one another in an ongoing Fitbit step challenge.
The challenge, dubbed the “Work Week Hustle,” has up to 10 members in the group each week. Members receive an invitation to the group and can decide whether to decline or join for the week.
Erickson organized the five-day weekly challenge, which seemed like a perfect fit in an atmosphere that requires employees to be on their feet much of the day instructing. Throughout the day, participants can check on their progress and see who is in the lead for the day.
Consistent members are kindergarten teachers Mariah Giczewski, Sarah Nelson, Sarah Mickley, Jeannette Nowaski and Karly Cancellieri; Administrative Assistant Kathy Kennedy; second-grade teacher Rashea Johnson; and Erickson.
“We’re competitive, and we push each other,” Giczewski said.
Although the main goal is to be more active, the challenge also brings out employees' competitive streaks.
“I am moving around more in my classroom, intentionally, and at recess I’m walking around everywhere,” Nowaski said.
But despite spending most of her time working in the front office and having limited opportunities to walk around campus, it's Kennedy, the administrative assistant, who holds the most weekly wins, averaging 20,000 steps a day.
“Whenever we see her creeping up in the total number of steps we giver her more work,” jokes Erickson.
She makes up for her sedentary hours at school after hours.
“If I see that I’m behind in steps, I’ll go home and jog in front of the TV,” Kennedy said
On average, Erickson check into classrooms and walks around the Bay Haven campus six times a day, but he admits that he might be squeezing in more steps to increase his rank.
“It’s really interesting to see what my average is and what are my lower days,” Erickson said.
The competitive side of the challenge has helped build camaraderie among the staff. Some faculty members have encouraged their spouses to join, as well as educators from other schools, including Brentwood Elementary Principal John Weida.
Students are aware of the challenge and ask teachers if they can try on their Fitbit bands.
“It makes me a better teacher,” said Carly Cancellieri, Bay Haven kindergarten teacher. “I’m doing a lot more circulating around the classroom because of it.”