Thirty-four Fletcher Elementary students joined hundreds of other school-age runners from around the state at RunVermont‘s annual Ready, Set, Run Festival last Saturday. The children’s event was part of the larger Vermont Marathon Weekend.


The Burlington-based kids’ races served as the culmination of the Fletcher School’s own Running Club, which takes place twice a week for the five weeks leading up to the larger statewide event. Marathons for students included half- and full-mile races that were open to children ages 4-14. A 2-mile event focused on ages 9-14. Fletcher had runners participate in all three divisions.

The Fletcher running Club has been in existence for at least six years. Organized by kindergarten teacher Jenny Blackman and supported by parent volunteers Jensen Welch and Carey Gillilan this year, this year’s runners appreciated a new clearly marked running path designed by fifth and sixth graders that encircled the playground. The older students also served as mentors to the younger athletes.


“The joy of running and being active is what we’re trying to promote with Running Club,” Blackman said. “It is an individualized sport, which provides a different experience from the team sports that many children participate in. This is a way for them to challenge themselves.”

Fletcher students donned sporty t-shirts in the school’s colors of blue and white for the races.


“It is so exciting for kids to be part of an event. With our small size in Fletcher we cannot offer them that experience. It’s a new world with kids from other places in a beautiful location,” Blackman said.

“I participated in Running Club and the race because I like to be outside,” first grader Serein Marcotte, who ran the half-mile marathon, said. “I want to get lots of exercise and this is how I did it. But, it was tiring!”


“I like running and having fun. It’s not all about winning. It’s about exercise and training and doing something fun,” fourth grader Malayna Sweet-Werneke said. “It’s so much fun to see how many other kids actually like running as much as me.”

Both Marcotte and Sweet-Werneke say they are excited about participating in both the local Running Club and Burlington event again next year.


Target 3 – Flexible Learning Environments: FWSU Maximizes flexible learning environments by redefining the school day, promoting learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom, and fostering creativity, innovation and personalized learning opportunities for all.

Indicators of Success: The school calendar and definition of the school day is flexible and responsive to the needs of students.

Action Steps: (1) Provide students with access to content, resources and methods for learning beyond the school day and beyond the school walls. (2) Develop opportunities for students to demonstrate transferrable skills in authentic settings.

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