Salt River Elementary commitment to wellness exemplified in new running track

Salt River Elementary commitment to health, wellness exemplified in new running track
Posted on 10/21/2016
SRPMIC President Delbert Ray and Salt River Schools Superintendent Dr. Louis Laffitte high-five students  running on the Salt River Elementary School track for the first time Oct. 21. Rana Maracle remembers when Salt River Elementary School students ran laps down in the middle of a low field that often flooded when it rained.

Teachers and students tried other options, which worked so long as the rain stayed away.

Frustrated with “good enough,” Maracle—the Native Culture Director for Salt River Schools— said school Division and Salt River tribal Community leaders came together to build students a state-of-the-art running track that not only wouldn’t flood, but would help students experience the importance of their health and wellness.

“They built you this track because you are important,” Maracle told the crowd of students at the track’s unveiling, traditional blessing and ribbon cutting Friday.

Many of those same Division and Community leaders were present during Friday’s celebrations, including SRPMIC President Delbert Ray, Sr.

“When you run on this track, think about how important you are and how important you are to this Community.”

And run they did.

Several students, along with teachers and staff across the Division and school board members, took to the track for a celebratory “First Run” lap, after which all students participated in breaking in the desert-colored path.

“We firmly believe prioritizing health and physical education gives our students a leading edge in their academics, and having a first-rate track like this at our school proves it,” said SRES Principal Dr. Amanda Guerrero.

Nationally, Native Americans have some of the highest rates of diabetes among any demographic. As part of its commitment to holistic education, including health and wellness programming, SRES implemented the daily Running Club for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as monthly, school-wide Fun Runs. Teachers record the number of completed laps and students with the most laps are recognized at the end of the year.  

“Not only are their bodies reaping the benefits when they walk and run and play, but so are their minds and spirits,” Guerrero said. “We know kiddos need to release energy throughout the day to effectively engage as students, but now our kids can see and feel how important we take their health with this beautiful track that’s second-to-none.”

Guerrero said the new track provides a safer and more durable surface upon which students can run. It winds its way around the expanse of the existing field and measures a total of 1,128 linear feet. A little more than four-and-a-half (approximately 4.68) laps around the track equals 1 mile.

For more information about SRES and other Salt River Schools activities, visit

Media Contact:
Taté Walker
Communications and Public Relations Director
Salt River Schools
Office: (480) 362-2570
Cell: (480) 692-8159
[email protected] 
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