Questions About Running the Program
WHAT TIME WILL THE PROGRAM START AND HOW LONG WILL IT RUN?
The curriculum is written as a 40-minute class that can be modified depending on your needs. So if the school day starts at 9:00 a.m., BOKS would probably start at 8:10 a.m. Try to allow at least five minutes for drop-off and 10 minutes to transition to class with at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity. Children can transition right to the breakfast program at the end of the BOKS class, if needed.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A BOKS CLASS NEEDS TO BE HELD INDOORS DUE TO POOR WEATHER?
The programming anticipates the need for indoor activity. There are lesson plans that take into account varying school space (i.e., no gym or utilizing classroom space and hallways).
WHAT ARE THE TOOLS & RESOURCES NEEDED TO RUN BOKS?
BOKS has created a Trainer Hub on our website at www.bokskids.org, which contains free tools and resources needed to help run BOKS. You will receive login details to the Trainer Hub once you have signed the BOKS pledge and we have received confirmation that your school principal has approved you running BOKS. The Trainer Hub is an online BOKS resource center with everything you need to run a successful program, including a forum for trainers to share stories and answer questions. You will be able to maintain a database of program participants, specific session information, generate attendance charts, emergency-contact information sheets, and metrics-collection sheets. You can purchase equipment, T-shirts and printed materials as well! One special feature within the Trainer Hub is the forum where you can exchange ideas or get answers to questions from other people within the BOKS family.You will also have access to all the materials needed to run BOKS including modifiable letters to the school community announcing BOKS, flyers for the school, registration forms, the entire BOKS curriculum and lesson plans, sets of BOKS Bits (our nutrition tips), surveys for parents, teachers and participants and even sample certificates for participants. There is a video library of movements, games and a sample class so you can see the program in action.
OUR SCHOOL ALREADY HAS P.E. IS BOKS MEANT TO SUPPLEMENT OR REPLACE P.E.?
No, the BOKS mission is to promote the profound impact of physical activity on a child's mind, body, and community. BOKS will provide an opportunity for children to increase their daily physical activity in an effort to achieve the CDC's recommended 60 minutes a day, five days a week. BOKS focuses on having fun and non competitive play. We have found that many P.E. teachers take elements of the BOKS program and implement it into their P.E. classes. BOKS promotes P.E. teachers to work with the BOKS team in your community as it is mutually beneficial!
OUR NURSE IS NOT ON SITE — WHAT ABOUT INJURIES?
The Lead Trainer will have a first-aid kit and plan to have the trainers (the Lead Trainer at a minimum) certified in CPR. Additionally, have an Emergency Action Plan in place if there is a critical situation. Lastly, when in doubt we will always call 911. There is an accident-report form that should be filled out, with a copy going home with the child and a copy going to the nurse. If the nurse is not available during BOKS hours each Lead Trainer is responsible for knowing where children's inhalers or other medical needs are stored in case of an emergency. If the child's medical needs are serious, it is recommended that a parent or guardian is present during class time.
IS THE PROGRAM FOR ALL ELEMENTARY STUDENTS OR JUST A FEW GRADES?
BOKS is intended to serve the entire elementary school student body. However, some schools have piloted the program in limited grades to gauge interest and/or work with limited space. We’ve also developed a middle school curriculum. Set your program up for success! [Note: if your school is a K-8 school, the children in grade 6-8 can be junior coaches, especially if they have siblings in the program. Our training materials offer suggestions on how to utilize junior coaches.] We have great success stories of mixing the grades so the kids exercise together.
IS ATTENDANCE TAKEN AT EVERY CLASS?
Attendance is important in order to make sure all children are accounted for and that they have signed waivers and have been accepted. Trainers will want to call home if too many classes are missed, to determine if the child wants to stay in the program. Attendance is also very important if you are collecting data. Schools need to know if the children have shown improvements from the program or if their lack of improvement is from poor attendance.
HOW SHOULD PARTICIPANTS BE CHOSEN IF THERE ARE MORE APPLICATIONS THAN AVAILABLE SPOTS?
BOKS recommends registering participants based on a lottery system rather than first-come, first-serve. If more children apply than spots are available, create a waiting list. If students who have registered for the program do not show up, take their name off the attendance and move a child off the waiting list. Be sure to communicate the standards/process with the school community (i.e., let them know if their child misses a full week without communication, they can no longer participate). If you don't feel comfortable with this operation or have no attendance issues, children on the wait list can have priority for spots at your next session.
HOW MANY WEEKS ARE IN A SESSION?
The two 12-week curriculum plan contains three unique lesson plans per week. We also provide 24 weeks of BOKS Bits, a set of 12 for each session, which are incorporated into the lesson plans. The lesson plans can be used session after session. If you choose to run your program longer than 24 weeks or more often than 3 times per week, refer to the index of games at the back of the curriculum to easily supplement your additional BOKS classes.
HOW MANY KIDS PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM?
BOKS strongly recommends a 1:20 ratio of trainers to students. However, this ratio may fluctuate depending on the space available. If the school has a large gym you may want to recommend an 80-child program, but if the school is running BOKS in a cafeteria or smaller space, try to encourage a reasonable number — potentially 40-60 children. Remember to set yourself up for success — it is better to start off small and then grow. Some schools have their entire school’s study body enrolled in the program!
HOW BIG OF A COMMITMENT IS BOKS?
It only takes a few hours a week of your time for 12 weeks to make a difference and an impact on a large group of children.
DOES THE PROGRAM HAVE TO RUN BEFORE SCHOOL OR CAN IT RUN DURING OR AFTER SCHOOL?
The premise of the program is Active Kids = Active Minds and therefore we encourage the kids to move in the morning before school starts or during the first few periods of the day because the effects of the physical activity are most impactful during this time. However, the curriculum can certainly be retrofitted to your school’s schedule. BOKS can also be run during the day, at recess or after school, because as we all know, kids continue to use their brains throughout the day and can always use that burst when sitting down to do their homework as well. Also, we have “BOKS Bursts” available if you are looking to integrate a short two-to five-minute burst of physical activity into the school day.
DO PARTICIPANTS HAVE TO ATTEND EVERY CLASS?
It is recommended that children attend as many classes as possible. In order to see the benefits of the program, consistent attendance is critical. Additionally, the class will be staffed for the maximum number of children and it will be unfair for children who want to participate but can't because of space limitations. If children participating in other programs that conflict with BOKS are registering, consider what your protocol will be.
CAN WE COMBINE BOKS WITH OUR ALREADY-ESTABLISHED BEFORE-SCHOOL PROGRAM?
Yes! If there is a before-school program already in place, then encourage the children to join BOKS a couple of days a week. This is a great way to involve children who are already at school early in the morning and energize them for the rest of the day. We have numerous YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs that are using BOKS as a resource to enhance their existing program.
Questions about training
WHAT KIND OF QUALIFICATIONS DOES A LEAD TRAINER NEED TO POSSESS?
The Lead Trainer does not need to be a fitness professional. He or she should be able to demonstrate the movements in the program. The most important characteristics for a Lead Trainer to possess are:
1. Enthusiasm and excitement for the program
2. Ability to manage a large group of children
3. Good organizational and communication skills
4. Reliable and passionate toward working with kids
IS IT HARD TO MANAGE CHILDREN WITH SUCH VARYING AGES ALTOGETHER IN THE PROGRAM?
In our experiences, this has not been an issue but rather a positive thing. The older children can act as mentors for the younger children. This provides leadership opportunities for them in addition to being role models. The lesson plans are designed to appeal to all elementary-school-age children. During the end of class game(s), children can be divided by grades to enable a fast- or slow-paced game. Depending on the lesson plan, children may also choose between two different games at the end of class.
HOW WILL THE TRAINERS BE TRAINED?
BOKS offers regular in-person training sessions held free of charge throughout Massachusetts and periodically in other key markets (D.C., New York, Rhode Island, Colorado) and we encourage all new trainers to attend. If you are unable to attend in person, we also have an online Virtual Training, covering the same material for new trainers.
For veteran trainers, we also offer advanced training sessions focused on classroom management and occasional themed training such as Yoga & Mindfulness or "Games, Games, Games." Be sure to check our website and follow us on social to stay up to date on all in-person and virtual training opportunities.
HOW IS THE LEAD TRAINER IDENTIFIED?
The Lead Trainer can be anyone who is passionate about getting kids active — parents, teachers, school faculty, community activists — whoever wants to champion the program. But one must remember that the Lead Trainer needs to have a continuous presence with the children and school community. The Lead Trainer has historically been the BOKS advocate who pitched the program to the school or identified specifically by the principal as a good candidate for the position. The Lead Trainer’s responsibilities can be shared with administration and classroom leaders if that is helpful for the school’s specific situation.
Funding and press questions
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN REEBOK AND BOKS?
BOKS is an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation and is an important part of Reebok's mission to "Empower People to Be Fit For Life." Reebok recognizes the profoundly positive impact that fitness can have on everyone, and is working toward ensuring that future generations are healthy and fit. BOKS is a key initiative to help make this mission a reality. Since 1986, the Reebok Foundation has strived to promote social and economic equality by funding programs that support inner-city youth and underserved groups, primarily in the Greater Boston area.
Over the years, the Reebok Foundation has worked with more than 500 nonprofit organizations. Today, by supporting BOKS, the Reebok Foundation is also working to ensure that people all over the world are able to live healthy, happy lives. Reebok is currently the sole donor to the Reebok Foundation and is the primary sponsor of the BOKS program, helping BOKS impact as many children as possible.
WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE?
Most BOKS programs fall under the school’s or district's general liability insurance. This would be similar to any other activity or program that runs out of the school.
OUR SCHOOL DOES NOT HAVE MONEY IN THE BUDGET TO SUPPORT THIS KIND OF PROGRAM. WHERE CAN WE GET THE FUNDS?
Should you decide you need a small amount of funding to jump-start the program, there are many different options to fund the BOKS program:
1. Look under our partners’ websites to see if there are current grants available.
2. Speak with the PTO/PTA; they may be able to earmark some funds to get our program started. Based on the program's success, consider applying for a grant or looking for sponsorships.
3. Reach out to local companies and have a discussion with them regarding sponsoring the BOKS program. Make sure to follow the sponsorship guidelines available in the Building Blocks materials (released after signing The BOKS Pledge).
4. Charge participants a nominal fee (i.e., per session) to participate in the program. This is much more affordable than childcare or other out-of-school activities. 5. Depending on your community, parents and teachers, etc. may be willing to volunteer their time in order to provide kid(s) the opportunity for physical activity
IF THE PROGRAM IS FREE, WHY WOULD WE NEED TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY?
BOKS provides the curriculum for free via downloads, training and support. However, there may be certain costs associated with the program for things such as first-aid supplies, copying, basic equipment like whistles, stopwatches, clipboards, cones, balls and jump ropes. Additional costs could include supplemental equipment and payment for the trainers' time if you decide to run the program in that manner. Remind the school that the cost will decrease after the first session if you are purchasing the supplies.
I HAVE A GREAT BOKS STORY. HOW DO I GET PRESS?
We thrive on success stories! If you have something to share, make sure to send us your story.
HOW DO WE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
Consider contacting a local paper to get some press around the program (a media kit will be available for download), participate in community events or offer the opportunity to demo the program for free one morning, afternoon or weekend to show what it is all about. Some schools have piloted a class, inviting parents and teachers to come with their kids to learn more about the program. This, along with conducting a survey, enables you to gauge interest.