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New Blacktop Art Encourages More Outdoor Physical Activity at Two Local Title 1 APS Schools

By: HCAT Arlington

October 30, 2022

On October 28, students and staff at Randolph Elementary school held a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the completion of new educational blacktop art that encourages more physical activity and outdoor play. Regular physical activity is essential to help children build strong muscles and bones, improve fine motor skills, focus better in the classroom, and improve their mental health.

Healthy Community Action Team (HCAT) Arlington received funding from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) and Arlington Foundation for Families and Youth (ArlFFY) to cover the cost of the project and hire a local artist to paint the blacktop murals at two Title 1 schools, Randolph Elementary and Carlin Springs Elementary. Schools are designated as Title 1 schools if they have 45% or higher free and reduced-price lunch eligibility rates and Randolph and Carlin Springs Elementary School’s free and reduced-price lunch rates are both higher than 70% and serve a high percentage of students of color.

“We are really excited to be able to bring some fun and color to these school yards and encourage more outdoor physical activity for the students during the school day,” said Mary Sanders, HCAT Arlington Coordinator. “With the pandemic and increased screen time, kids are much more sedentary, and this project will help encourage active movement and outdoor play.” HCAT Arlington works on projects and initiatives to decrease childhood obesity rates throughout Arlington. HCAT Arlington is also a founding member of Arlington Living Schoolyard Initiative (ALSI), which works to ensure Arlington students have equitable access to outdoor learning opportunities on their schoolyards.

“The Randolph Elementary community is so grateful for and proud to have the artwork painted by artist Briam Montenegro -a dream come true for our school,” Carlos Ramirez, Principal of Randolph Elementary thanked Mary Sanders from HCAT Arlington “Our playground now has 6 different educational designs painted on both blacktops for students to reinforce their learning of letters, numbers, the planets, etc., as they play purposefully during recess. As an International Baccalaureate school, we welcome all community members and organizations, such as HCAT, who contribute to our students being life-long learners and global citizens.”

“This is cool! I’m gonna run on the rocks next to Mars!” said 2nd grader JC Watts, about one of the painted murals featuring the solar system on the blacktop.

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