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Holbrook Elementary finalist in governor’s fitness challenge

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 at 10:03 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Holbrook Principal Sara Dieli received some bittersweet news yesterday: the school has been named one of the top 10 finalists for the Governor’s fitness challenge. It is the only Contra Costa County school to earn this honor.

Dieli said the recogniztion is thanks to teacher Steve Slater, who organized noon league basketball and hockey every day on his lunch hour. Louella Giron, from the CARES after-school program, kept track of all the minutes students spent doing physical activities, she said.

She forwarded me the following e-mail she received from the program organizers, congratulating her and the school.


The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports will announce that your school is one of 116 state-wide school finalists tomorrow, June 21st. For being named a finalist your school will receive a ‘Champions for Fitness’ banner in the fall.

Feel free to share this news with your parents, teachers and district office…

Next Steps:

We will be reviewing essays submitted by our school finalists this summer and announcing our award winners in September.

Good luck, and thank you again for all you do to help your students get active, healthy and fit!

Kimberly Selman, Program Associate, Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.”

Here’s the offficial press release:


Holbrook Elementary School to be considered for prizes worth up to $100,000

Los Angeles, Calif. – Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, announced today that Holbrook Elementary School in Concord is one of nine school finalists in the Bay Area Region and 116 schools state-wide that have been named finalists in the 2011 Governor’s Challenge Competition. The Governor’s Challenge Competition is a contest that promotes increased physical activity and better nutrition among California’s children.

The nine Bay Area school finalists are:

Holbrook Elementary in Concord
FAME Public Charter in Fremont
Junction K-8 in Livermore
Rancho Las Positas Elementary in Livermore
Los Altos High in Los Altos
Sunset Ridge Elementary in Pacifica
Brooktree Elementary in San Jose
Ruskin Elementary in San Jose
Jefferson Elementary in San Leandro

The Governor’s Challenge is to be active 30-60 minutes a day, at least three days a week for a month. All 394 Holbrook students successfully completed at least one Challenge this year, and together the school’s students, teachers and parents engaged in more than 95,000 days of physical activity. Today’s announcement marks the fourth year that Holbrook has been named a finalist in the Governor’s Challenge. In 2009 the school received a $1,000 Front Runner Award for having recorded the most days of physical activity of any elementary school in the Bay Area region at the half-way point in the competition. In 2007 Holbrook was named the competition’s Bay Area Regional Champion and received a $5,000 award.

‘Congratulations to all the Holbrook students, parents and teachers who have been stepping up to make fitness a priority all year,’ said Steinfeld. ‘And a special congratulations to Principal Dieli and Governor’s Challenge Coordinator Louella Giron – two great educators who have been relaying the message that being active not only helps you get healthier, it helps your mind work better and boosts your confidence and self-esteem too!’

The 116 school finalists named today are now under consideration for prizes including 6 brand new fitness centers valued at $100,000 each and 11 Regional Awards of $6,000 each, which will be used to buy new physical activity equipment and other school supplies. Award winning schools will be announced at a special ceremony at the Capitol in September.

Statewide more than 1.4 million participants recorded more than 8 million days of physical activity through the Governor’s Challenge in 2011. Complete physical activity records of participating schools in the Governor’s Challenge can be found at

‘I want to emphasize that during these times when budgets are so tight, we’ve been able to promote the Governor’s Challenge without adding any burden to California taxpayers,’ said Steinfeld. ‘Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, – Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Coca-Cola Company, CVS/pharmacy, General Mills, and Kaiser Permanente – a record 1.4 million California children, parents and teachers signed up to take the Governor’s Challenge this year.

Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is the title sponsor of the Governor’s Council Spotlight Awards that fund the Competition’s three grand prize fitness centers. The Coca-Cola Company is the sponsor of an additional three Live Positively Fitness Center awards that will be donated to schools this year. CVS/pharmacy sponsors the Governor’s Challenge Competition Front Runner Awards and the $6,000 Regional Awards. General Mills’ sponsorship funds the Certificates of Completion which students completing the Governor’s Challenge receive. Partners of the Governor’s Council include Tuff Stuff Fitness Equipment, which helps equip the fitness centers the Council awards, 24 Hour Fitness which provides free passes to high school students taking the Governor’s Challenge, and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area which provides free lift tickets to K-12 students taking the Governor’s Challenge.

About the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

The California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting physical activity for all Californians with an emphasis on children and youth. Council members include Chairman Jake Steinfeld, Vice Chairman Peter Vidmar, and California sports legends such as Tony Hawk, Misty May-Treanor, and Laila Ali. Governor Brown is the Honorary Chairman and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is the co-Honorary Chairman.

Governor’s Council key initiatives include the Governor’s Challenge, the Governor’s Council Spotlight Awards presented by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Live Like a Champion Tour powered by Anthem Blue Cross and Exercise is Medicine. Founding sponsors are Anthem Blue Cross Foundation and Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Awards Kaiser Permanente. Other sponsors include The Coca-Cola Company, CVS/pharmacy and General Mills.

For more information, visit”

Where do you think the district should hang Holbrook’s banner, which it will receive in the fall?

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14 Responses to “Holbrook Elementary finalist in governor’s fitness challenge”

  1. g Says:

    The only “correct” place would be in the Council Chambers, right over their heads, where they have to look at it every time they walk in! Below it we could hang a banner showing the great increase of the school’s grades and a picture of the PFC volunteers refurbishing the grounds last year!

  2. g Says:

    Holbrook won $5K in 2007 and $1K in 2009, and now stands to forfeit somewhere between $6,000.00 and $100,000.00 Fitness Center monies. All while the District Superintendent didn’t even know where the school was, and no visits from the Board in how many years?

    One more error. One more oops! One more ding in the “saved money” farce.

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Holbrook parents could rent one of those “trailer advertising rigs” and park it in front of each Board member’s home for a week with the banner who voted for closure for Holbrook. But don’t rule out plain old picketing with the sign each evening for a week. And I guess they could all sit in the front row at a Board meeting with the sign strung across their laps. 🙂

  4. Doctor J Says:

    @g #2; That money doesn’t count to balance the district budget since it is unique to the school.

  5. Another MDUSD Mom Says:

    You mean it is not out of the general fund so it doesn’t count.

  6. Doctor J Says:

    Its a donation to a particular school and therefore “restricted” money to that school alone.

  7. g Says:

    We can agree that the funds would most directly have benefited Holbrook, just as the $25K award from Chevron went to YVHS last year for its science program, much like private donations to music and sports foundations. Individual school donations such as this are “generally” looked upon favorably, and “generally” are not lost in a mindless money shuffle.

    A fitness facility could also have benefited and been shared with other schools on occasion. While funds such as this may not show up in a budget, it is still a pocket of health and fitness money that the District might have someday deemed necessary to fund on its own if not for the donation.

  8. g Says:

    Even further proof No one at District knows squat about Holbrook. Also proof Pedersen and the 2002 Measure C expenditures need a closer look. On 2/28 Theresa ran an article reflecting the proposed 2010 expense for Holbrook. A whole lot of what was listed was just done in the last 2-5 years. Playground equipment was burned in July 2008, and PTA solicited donations and supplied them with all new equipment. Sure hope they get to take it with them to Wren. They won’t be able to take their vegetable gardens though! Kindergarten also has great play equip. A/C for offices and Multi-purpose-done. New Concrete-done; Restrooms-done, and more. There is a LOT of padding going on.

  9. g Says:

    Sorry, error in copy on my above statement: “PTA solicited donations and the (District-Prop 55) supplied them with all new equipment”.

  10. Hell freezing over Says:

    What ever happened to the “seven-11 committee” and redrawing boundaries. See On Assignment article dated Jan 14 2011:

    After the board decides which campuses to close, a “Seven-11 committee” will be formed to recommend what to do with the excess property. It’s called a “Seven-11 committee” because it must be made up of seven to 11 community members, including a parent, tax group rep, school administrator, etc.

    “Every member up to seven is described,” he said. “They go through an analysis of what you might be able to do with the property, such as lease or sell.”

    A consultant would likely help the committee, but the board would make the final decision, Lawrence said. The money can’t go into the general fund, however, he added.

    “It can be used toward any one-time expenditure,” he said. ”So, that is part of the whole confounding issue when you’re looking at selling off a piece of property.

    The district will also have to redraw school boundaries. Lawrence said some schools ranked at the bottom according to criteria were not recommended for closure because they were projected to be “at enrollment capacity” in five to seven years. In that case, the district might change boundaries to ease overflows.

  11. Clay Says:

    Cograts to Holbrook. This award is a good example of the way the staff worked together to support great programs for their students. How stupid is a board that closes a school that has award winning programs? The banner should be hung at the district office. It should be a constant reminder to a board who makes hasty decisions based on poor educational practice. Gary, Linda and the rest of you, show me the data that proves that school closures should be based on the number of distribution sites for the students at the school that is closing.

    It is so hard not to be angry. If Holbrook were open, the adminisitration and board would probably send a congratulatory letter. Now perhaps theys should sent an apology letter to the whole community.

    As another serious note, the teachers are spending days and even weeks packing up the old and prepeatring their classrooms at their new site. The district is not reinbursing them properly. Thery are being given $20 per hour up to 12 hours. This is another disgrace for all of their service. Maybe they should take some measure C money being saved on rent and give it to the Holbrook teachers. As I said before, it’s hard not to be angry!

  12. John Q Says:

    Just checking, our bond money installed a/c in the multi-purpose that will now be used for storage, and a/c in the offices that will be used by 2010 Measure C staff, is that right?

  13. Clay Says:

    No AC is multi-purpose. It looks like measure C staff will be in the office and some new AC classrooms.

  14. John Q Says:

    Glad they installed a/c in some classrooms, where the children are oops were…

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