Rewarding a Great Idea from a Helena Teacher

Ms. Erickson and her Great Ideas Grant check

Ms. Erickson accepting her Great Ideas Grant check

Montana middle school gym teacher Janet Erickson is always looking for creative ways to get her students and fellow teachers moving and active. In particular, she’s been dreaming about getting a set of Nordic Walking Poles for the Helena Middle School community. Now thanks to a grant from the Helena Education Foundation, her dream is becoming a reality!

The Helena Education Foundation, with support from private donors has the goal of enriching education in the Helena Public Schools with programs like the “Great Ideas Grants”. These grants put money directly into the hands of classroom teachers, helping educators take ideas for innovative teaching strategies and make them a reality.

Here’s what Nordic Walking Poles look like in action

This fall, PacificSource Health Plans was proud to sponsor Janet Erickson’s “700 Healthy Helena Hearts” Great Ideas Grant. Ms. Erickson’s plan will engage middle school students in a total-body conditioning program using Nordic Walking Poles, which simulate the benefits of cross-county skiing and engages the entire upper body muscle system. This activity burns 40% more calories than walking and stimulates the brain to improve cognitive functions. Nordic walking training will take place in PE classes and activities will be offered before school, during lunch and after school for the more than 700 students and teachers at Helena Middle School to enhance their exercise regime and improve their health.

Here’s a video of Ms. Erickson sharing the good news with her students. We were thrilled to be there to present the check.


Congratulations to Ms. Erickson and we at PacificSource looking forward to seeing the 700 Healthy Helena Hearts in action!

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: