Originally published Feb 12, 2023 by the New Haven Register.

By Brian Zahn

For Neji Gerancon, his favorite part was running back-and-forth through the school gymnasium. Valerie Santiago said her favorite part was jumping over hurdles.

"I like going really high," said Valerie.

Officials at Savin Rock Community School believe that an obstacle course set up by physical education teacher Glenn Healy is the most fun the kindergarten students can have practicing for a test they don't even know they're going to take.

Starting in fourth grade leading up to high school, Connecticut students participate in a biannual fitness assessment that tests their fitness in four areas: aerobic endurance, flexibility, upper body strength and abdominal muscle strength. Students are expected to meet certain benchmarks for their age and sex. The state collects and reports data for what percentage of students meet or exceed the goal standards in all four areas.

Although West Haven has lagged behind the state average rates for meeting the physical fitness standards for the last few years of data, the gap is closing. In 2015-16, there was a 20.9-point gap between the state average for students meeting the standard levels in all four areas — 50.5 percent — and West Haven's 29.6 percent. Last year, that gap narrowed to 10.2 points.

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    New Haven Register: How West Haven schools got students' fitness scores in shape
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    New Haven schools see positive changes in fitness scores after installing obstacle course.
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