Oceanside, New York

A Long Island School District Finds Inspiration Across the Ocean via World Walking

Every educator knows that students who are healthy and well-balanced make the most focused and productive learners. Schools can play an important role in fostering healthy habits for body and mind. With this idea as our mission, the Oceanside School District (OSD) in Long Island, New York, launched a yearlong initiative to promote health and wellness for our students and community.

Using a simple hashtag, #OSDBeWell, and an unforgettable logo, we brainstormed what our first big event would be. We knew we wanted to capitalize on the beautiful autumn weather on Long Island to get families out walking together, but we needed a way to connect and motivate our students and community members. After a few web searches, we stumbled upon WorldWalking.org. We instantly knew we had found the app that would bring our idea to life. We created a team and decided that our first walk would be a virtual trek through all fifty states in our beautiful nation. We named it Walk Across the USA and spread the word on social media, posted banners at each of our ten schools, and sent out a newsletter announcing the challenge. We encouraged everyone to download the app and join our walking team to reach each of the 49 milestones other than our own home state of New York. We now have more than 155 members that include families, educators, and entire classes in our schools, and all are logging their steps to meet our common challenge. As we reach each milestone state, we tweet out a photo of the state summary from the app so that families walking together can learn together, too! 

Our little town is on fire with this challenge and we have already walked hundreds of thousands of steps to reach milestone 11, Arizona. All you have to do is follow us @OSDBeWell on twitter and you will see the faces of those who walk with us and post to share their fun and physical fitness.

The most remarkable part of this journey has been connecting with World Walking, a site curated in Scotland, a continent away from Long Island. We could not believe that this amazing site was free to users, created to inspire fun and fitness. I am happy to share that World Walking has done just that for the students and families in our Long Island, New York school district. No matter where in the world you are, health and wellness matter, and thanks to World Walking, the whole wide world is only steps away!

Diane Provvido 

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Research

Oceanside School District

Long Island, New York, USA