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 Lemon Grove Principal Earns Top Award, And $10,000, for Best School Fitness Program

​A Lemon Grove School District elementary school principal has received the state’s top award for a school physical fitness program.

Rick Oser, Principal of Golden Avenue School, received the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Principal of the Year Spotlight Award, and a $10,000 check, for his powerful efforts to improve the health and fitness of students at his school.

“This definitely shows that when we work together, anything is possible,” Oser said, to the delight of an auditorium full of Golden Avenue students. “Our family members are a big part of this too, and so is every member of our Golden Avenue staff.”

Three members of the Lemon Grove School District Board of Trustees were on hand for the recognition. Trustees Jay Bass, Katie Dexter, and Tim Shaw, as well as district superintendent Ernie Anastos, each offered Oser congratulations.

Also in the audience was San Marcos Middle School Principal Brian Randall, whose school earned the Bronze Medal, or third place, in the Governor’s Council program. Randall received a check for $1,000 for his school.

The Comprehensive Wellness Program Oser developed in 2007 has generated unprecedented resources to support students’ physical and emotional wellness, as well as promoting healthy lifestyles and providing children with better access to healthcare. Daily physical education, a school jogging club, and grant-funded violence prevention activities are all part of the Golden Avenue program.

Oser said the fitness and wellness efforts have coincided with significant growth in Golden Avenue’s academic achievement, as measured by California’s Standardized Testing and Reporting program (STAR).

The number of students scoring proficient or above in English Language Arts has jumped from 21 to 48 percent. In math, 52 percent of the students are now proficient or above, up from 38 percent. And in science, the percent scoring proficient or above jumped from 17 to 51 percent.

“The students are so motivated to get out there and be active, and that motivation continues when they come back into the classroom,” said Golden Avenue first grade teacher Shelley Birch. “I feel like they’re more ready to learn when they’ve had a chance to get their energy out.”