Friday, 21 June 2024

Cobb Mountain Elementary honored as finalist in Governor

COBB – Cobb Mountain Elementary School has once again been honored for its efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles and exercise among its students and the community's members.

The California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports announced that the school was among 127 schools across the state that had been named finalists in the Governor’s Challenge Competition.

“I’m thrilled to be able to recognize Cobb Mountain Elementary School’s efforts,” council Chair Jake Steinfeld said in a written statement on the award.

He thanked Cobb Mountain Elementary Principal Tracy Skeen for stepping up as her school’s Governor’s Challenge coordinator.

“You are clearly passionate about getting your kids active and making sure they eat well and I’m a big believer that passion leads and everything else follows,” said Steinfeld.

With local schools out for summer, Skeen couldn't be reached for comment late last week.

Kenny Rogers, executive director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, said the council has been administering the Governor’s Challenge Competition for schools in California for five years now.

He said this year was a record-breaking one for the Governor’s Challenge, with more than 1.3 million students from 2,649 schools participating statewide.

More people participated in the California Governor’s Fitness Challenge this year than in all the other 49 states combined, the council reported.

Rogers said the participants recorded more than 11 million days of physical activity in this year's competition.

He said he thinks there are a number of reasons for the large participation this year.

Over the last five years, the competition has increasingly gained traction, and during that time Rogers said the results of physical fitness have been recognized by educators, students, parents and community members.

He said more teachers are seeing the benefits of physical activity on their students' health, self-esteem and academic success.

Last year, the council conducted a study of the entire county of Stanislaus, where the top 15 schools had twice the rate of academic performance improvements as the rest of the state thanks to fitness programs, he said.

Rogers said children's brains are affected by exercise, which he called “medicine.”

He credited Cobb Mountain Elementary for realizing early on the value of physical activity and its benefit for students.

The school joined the fitness competition in 2007, and ever since all of its students have participated, he said.

In the four years that the school has participated in the fitness competition, it has always been an award finalist, which Rogers called “remarkable.”

Last year, the school was named a regional winner and received $5,000, and previously has won three $1,000 Front Runner Awards awards, according to Rogers.

At the same time, Cobb Mountain Elementary has been one of the county's top-performing schools in the annual Academic Performance Index.

In 2009, it had the highest API score in the county, with 880, 48 points higher than the next closest school, according to state records.

Basic participation in the fitness challenges involves taking part in a one-month challenge, after which a person receives a certification of completion. However, Rogers said the real goal is to promote ongoing activity.

Not only can students take part, but staff, faculty, parents and community members are encouraged to get active along with the children. Rogers said.

“That's what we're trying to push, is when people are active together, it makes it more fun,” and Rogers said that will make it a lifelong habit. He credited Skeen, the parents and community for banding together.

Cobb Mountain Elementary had all of its 165 students taking part this year, with 21,490 active student days, according to council records. In addition, 16 other people signed up, for an another 1,312 active days.

Rogers said Cobb Mountain Elementary now goes into the next competition level, which requires they submit an essay to show how they support physical activity. The regional winners will be announced later this year.

Concurrent with the competition, Rogers said the council also is seeking nominations for its Spotlight Awards, which honors teachers and principals and gives winners $10,000 for their schools.

He said the deadline to submit nominations is Wednesday, June 30; see

For more information about the competition, along with records of participating schools, visit

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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