Tarwater Elementary School has a smorgasbord of activities in its P.E. classes that other schools may not: yoga, inline skating and rock climbing.
Now the Chandler school also has bragging rights.
Recently, Tarwater’s physical education program received the STARS award from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
It’s the first P.E. program in the state to receive the national recognition, and is among only 30 others nationwide to be honored.
The award “shows that we’re working hard here for the best for our students,” said veteran P.E. teacher Liane Bowles.
Bowles, who has taught P.E. in the Chandler Unified School District for more than 20 years, spent nearly 80 hours applying for the award earlier this year by compiling information for a group of judges.
The school had to meet a set of 31 objectives, and submit information ranging from the amount of time students spend in P.E. on a weekly basis to photographs of the school’s indoor and outdoor facilities. It’s the second time Bowles has applied for the award.
Bowles points to a variety of activities and continued professional development for teachers as the key ingredients for the success of her school’s program.
“You keep changing every year,” Bowles said. “My goal ... is for all students to be active for a lifetime.”
Fifth-grader Mikala Koenig said trying different activities at Tarwater has motivated her to pursue lacrosse. “I never really was able to catch the ball,” Mikala said. “Then one of my friends started helping me and I ended up being good at it.”
Bowles will travel to the association’s national conference later this month to accept the award, which will include a banner for the school’s cafeteria and a gift certificate to purchase equipment.