Northwoods Middle Receives Outride Grant Riding For Focus 2022

September 23, 2022

North Charleston, SC – Research says that students who exercise and remain physically active throughout the day are more motivated and engaged. They tend to do better in the classroom, too. Educators at Northwoods Middle School are ensuring that their students have every opportunity to do just that. Northwoods received a fleet of 35 mountain bikes from the Outride cycling program. The school was chosen as a recipient of the foundation’s grant for Fall 2022.

“I am so excited about this opportunity for the scholars at Northwoods Middle School,” said Principal Keturah Gadson. “The partnership between our school and Riding for Focus will allow us to introduce scholars to another healthy way to get exercise, build relationships, manage stress, and create life-long habits that can improve their overall wellbeing. Coach Meg Reilly has done an amazing job of coordinating this experience and I really appreciate her work to ensure that, throughout the life of this grant, all of our students will have the opportunity to have the Riding for Focus experience.”

Outride is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth through cycling. Through research, school-based cycling programs, and matching community grants, Outride harnesses the benefits of cycling for the cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical well being of youth while also helping to cultivate inclusive cycling communities.

Northwoods will implement the curriculum in the Spring 2023 semester. This three year partnership will be used in physical education courses. In addition, Northwoods has a vision of starting an afterschool cycling program. “We are excited to see the growth in our students both physically and from a social emotional perspective,” said Meg Reilly, Northwoods physical education instructor. “We have partnered with Main Street Bike Shop in Summerville who will assist in assembling the bikes and regular maintenance.”

In addition to the mental and academic benefits, the curriculum teaches the students basic bike safety. The students are responsible for making sure their bike is safe to ride by conducting the basic ABC bike check (air, brakes, chain, and cranks). They each have their own helmet and they’re learning how to reach their target heart rate and how to check it.

Daily lessons send students peddling through various obstacle courses. There are days when the lessons center on riding etiquette, decision-making, and best practices. The students are learning about eye contact with vehicular drivers and who might have the right-of-way. What started as beginner lessons inside the gymnasium, will culminate into a final lesson on road readiness. At the end of each school year, local law enforcement will join students on their final trek. The bikes are built to last five or more years. Reilly plans to add to the fleet annually so as to increase the number of students she can reach through the program.

"We are so excited for this opportunity for the scholars at Northwoods and think the data will support the school's academic and social-emotional goals,” said Reilly. “We are hopeful that within the three-year partnership every student at Northwoods will have the opportunity to be part of the Outride Cycling curriculum and gain a great appreciation for the sport of cycling and all that the sport does to reduce stress and promote overall wellness.”

For more information, contact Meg Reilly at (843) 764-2212.

About the Charleston County School District

Charleston County School District (CCSD) is a nationally accredited school district committed to providing equitable and quality educational opportunities for all of its students. CCSD is the second-largest school system in South Carolina and represents a unique blend of urban, suburban, and rural schools spanning 1,300 square miles along the coast. CCSD serves approximately 49,000 students in 88 schools and specialized programs. CCSD offers a diverse, expanding portfolio of options and specialized programs, delivered through neighborhood, magnet, IB (international baccalaureate), Montessori, and charter schools. Options include programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) , music and other creative and performing arts, career and technical preparation programs, and military.