ACPS Launches Elementary School Swim Skills Pilot Program

ACPS, in cooperation with the City of Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, is launching a swim safety pilot program as part of the physical education curriculum at James K. Polk Elementary School.

The pilot program, which has been in development for several months, will culminate in a series of one-hour swim sessions over four days at Chinquapin Aquatics Facility for 37 fourth-grade students of varying backgrounds and abilities. The goal of the program is to ensure students learn basic water safety skills through a variety of activities, enabling them to feel more comfortable and confident in the water.

Beginning June 12, students will take buses to Chinquapin where each day they will work on swim skills and related activities. Prior to the start of the program, students will view a presentation about Chinquapin to familiarize them with the facility and the purpose of the program.

Before beginning instruction, students will be assessed to determine their swimming skills. Instruction will start with the basics of putting one’s face in the water, blowing bubbles, floating on one’s front and back, and turning from front to back while floating. Students will receive aquatic safety instruction and will learn about the health benefits of swimming.

The program exemplifies our commitment to ensuring that our students are healthy and ready to learn. We are consistently striving to bring fresh movement opportunities to our children with the hope that they will find an activity or two that sticks for life,” said Michael Humphreys, ACPS Instructional Specialist for Health, Physical Education and Family Life Education.

For the past several months, former ACPS teacher and community volunteer Carolyn Griglione, has been spearheading the effort, working closely with ACPS leadership, physical education staff and the City of Alexandria Director of Aquatics, Ralph Baird, to design the program. Griglione has also been instrumental in the monthly Family Splash Nights at Chinquapin, which offer an evening of water safety skills building and fun for the whole family and feature a different ACPS school at each Splash Night.

Learning to swim should be a requirement for all children for their safety, health, enjoyment and well being. It is a skill that can provide enjoyment for people of all ages and physical abilities,” said Griglione.

The program also received support from ACPS partner Shoppers Food Warehouse, which has provided bags in which each student will carry their towels and clothes. USA Swimming, Make A Splash and Pool Safety have provided guidance.

ACPS, News Release, Polk