Record-breaking Superintendent’s Fun Run continues to grow

Growing from a simple idea to bring CFISD employees together and raise money for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation (CFEF), the Superintendent’s Fun Run and Festival has grown into a community event that even Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent of schools, couldn’t imagine.

Now in its fifth year, the Fun Run and Festival has exceeded most – if not all – expectations. In addition to the 5K and 1-mile races, event organizers and support staff have been able to lean on numerous school, community and business partners, who have reciprocated through participation, sponsorships and support, helping turn races into a carnival-like atmosphere featuring on-site vendor booths, food trucks, bounce houses and student performance groups.

And the fifth edition, held March 24 at the Berry Center, was historic – representatives from CFISD and Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, presented the CFEF with a check worth $100,000, a total nearly doubling any of the Fun Run and Festival predecessors.

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“That was my goal five years ago,” Dr. Henry said. “To eventually get to $100,000, but I thought it would take longer than this. But I will say that number is significant because that endows a scholarship for a student – $100,000 is a very, very nice scholarship for a student and that goes on into perpetuity. It never ends because we just take the interest and investment earnings off of that $100,000 and create a new scholarship every year so I’m really excited about that.”

The Fun Run and Festival featured a 5K and a 1-mile run that took place in and around the Berry Center and Lone Star College–CyFair. An added addition this year was the sleep-in pass, giving those who couldn’t attend an opportunity to still contribute.

Helping start the 5K was Arnstar from GoNoodle’s Blazer Fresh, who led race participants in stretching exercises before Dr. Henry signaled the official start. Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, the event’s underwriter, sponsored GoNoodle Plus for CFISD K-6 teachers, students and parents for the 2017-2018 school year. A classroom movement program aimed to fuel learning through the power of movement, GoNoodle is used in 80 percent of U.S. elementary schools.

“The energy, the electricity – it was impactful,” Arnstar said. “And just to know that Blazer Fresh is making a difference in the way it is, I’m super grateful.”

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In all, 60 sponsors helped make 2018’s Fun Run and Festival the biggest to date. That included Memorial Hermann Cypress, which has firmly entrenched itself as an ally of CFISD in just its first year. Hospital representatives were among the 80 vendor booths that helped give the event a carnival-like feel.

“Cy-Fair ISD knows how to do it right and knows how to put on an event,” said Heath Rushing, Memorial Hermann Cypress and Katy senior vice president and CEO. “We’re just proud to be a part of it.”

And while the Fun Run and Festival supports CFISD students through helping fund CFEF scholarships and other opportunities, the event also prominently featured hundreds of students of all ages.

More than 1,400 registered for the two races. More than 500 participated as volunteers. The 17 performances featured groups from a number of schools, including the Jersey Village High School cheerleaders, Andre’ Elementary School Leopard Steppers, Rennell Elementary School Redhawk Dance team, Cypress Ridge High School Dazzlers, Anthony Middle School Glee Club and Cypress Lakes High School R.E.D. Storm.

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“One of the things I take great pride in is the adults that work and live in this district have great relationships with the students that go to school in this district,” Dr. Henry said. “That’s a culmination of great parenting, great school system and instilling in students the idea of giving back for the things they have so much to be thankful for. I just really appreciate all the parents, the teachers and the employees, and of course our students for making this a success.”

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GoNoodle stimulates active learning in CFISD

Thanks in part to a sponsorship from community partner Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, CFISD educators and students have been able to take their teaching and learning to another level during the 2017-2018 school year with GoNoodle.

A movement program used in approximately 80 percent of U.S. public elementary schools, GoNoodle aims to fuel learning through the power of movement. Using short, interactive videos and games, GoNoodle incorporates movement (dancing, stretching, running and other activities) that can be used in the classroom and at home.

Memorial Hermann Cypress sponsored the Plus version of GoNoodle for CFISD for the 2017-2018 school year at a value of $165,000. The hospital was recognized for its giving and the sponsorship during the Board of Trustees meeting in October.

 
1020 Memorial Hermann Cypress 3Students throughout CFISD are getting moving thanks to the brain-based classroom movement program, GoNoodle. District partner Memorial Hermann–Cypress funded GoNoodle Plus in CFISD for 2017-2018. 

“We know that creating healthy habits in young people puts them on the right track to maintain healthy lifestyles as adults,” said Heath Rushing, Memorial Hermann Cypress senior vice president and CEO. “We are thankful that our community partners like Cypress-Fairbanks ISD also place a high priority on instilling healthy habits in the young people they impact every day.”

Memorial Hermann Cypress also sponsored professional development for teachers to go with GoNoodle Plus for the district.

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Dawn Tryon (left), Keith Elementary School principal, and Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability, move alongside students to a learning activity on GoNoodle Plus during a media event on Nov. 14 at Keith Elementary School. Memorial Herman Cypress Hospital sponsored GoNoodle Plus technology and professional development for teachers for CFISD for the 2017-2018 school year at a value of $165,000.

Launched in 2014, GoNoodle allows teachers and students to use “brain breaks” and other movement activities to not only break the mantra of stationary learning from a desk, but instead continue the learning process with academic-incorporated games while also promoting physical activity. A number of the learning activities have game-like attributes, helping keep a student’s attention even more during the day as levels are earned or characters successfully complete challenges.

“When we get kids moving and learning, they retain information longer,” said Erika Sanchez, a preschool programs for children with disabilities (PPCD) teacher at Copeland Elementary School and GoNoodle ambassador. “Our whole goal is to want kids to have fun in the class and GoNoodle is one of the ways we can utilize technology in a platform that gets the kids up and moving, and learning the different content areas.”

Da Vinci Day a showcase event for young GT students

Just as a number of departments within CFISD have events and programs highlighting the opportunities they offer students, staff, families and community partners, the same can be said for the HORIZONS Program, which serves the needs and interests of academically gifted and talented students.

One of those showcase events is Da Vinci Day, which brought together more than 2,350 CFISD elementary and middle school HORIZONS students on Feb. 24 at Cypress Ridge High School for a morning of activities that challenged their critical thinking and allowed them to demonstrate skills in science, STEM and fine arts.

0305 Da Vinci Day 1Volunteers from the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Alley Theater, Space Center Houston and Play-well (Legos) of Dallas brought their equipment for hands-on learning and excitement to more than 2,350 CFISD elementary and middle school HORIZONS students during Da Vinci Day, held Feb. 24 at Cypress Ridge High School. The Houston Zoo also served as a partner, bringing animals to the showcase event.

“Da Vinci Day is such a wonderful opportunity for our HORIZONS students to gather and participate in activities designed and differentiated to challenge and engage them,” said Katrina Nelson, CFISD director of advanced academics.

For the 2018 event, community partners that came in to help challenge the HORIZONS students included the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Alley Theater, Space Center Houston, Houston Zoo and Play-well (Legos) of Dallas. They brought their equipment for hands-on learning stations.

The Houston Zoo even brought animals.

0305 Da Vinci Day 2Da Vinci Day is a showcase event for CFISD elementary and middle school HORIZONS students, which serves the needs and interests of academically gifted and talented students. The morning of activities challenges students and their critical thinking and allowed them to demonstrate skills in science, STEM and fine arts.

Other community partners who have been a part of Da Vinci Day activities include Little Breakers Science Lab and Color Me Mine, a paint-it-yourself ceramics studio.

But it’s not just CFISD community and business partners engaging and working with HORIZONS students at Da Vinci Day. The 2018 event saw more than 200 CFISD elementary and middle school staff and administrators lead participants through sessions like coding, robotic challenges, science labs, art activities and escape rooms.

In addition, over 200 students from Bridgeland, Cy-Fair, Cypress Falls, Cypress Lakes, Cypress Ranch, Cypress Ridge, Cypress Woods and Langham Creek high schools volunteered in helping the event be a success.

“There were sessions for everyone at all different interest levels,” said Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability. “Certainly, it’s an opportunity for us to highlight our gifted and talented students and continue supporting them in this district.”

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In addition to a number of community and business partners helping put together Da Vinci Day, the 2018 event had more than 200 CFISD elementary and middle school staff and administrators participanted in sessions like coding, robotic challenges, science labs, art activities and escape rooms.