Health and Wellness Elementary School Adopts Tennis After Grant from USTA Florida Foundation
Tennis has taken up permanent residence at Allamanda Elementary School, which only makes sense as a first-of-its-kind Health and Wellness Elementary School.
A grant from the USTA Florida Foundation, the giving arm of the USTA Florida Section, allowed the school to expand tennis classes and after-school club offerings to the approximately 650 students ages 5-11 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
In 2019, the school constructed its own court, which mostly sat unused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the court is in constant use as students are making up for lost time.
“We are growing our tennis program through lessons in physical education classes and through our tennis club,” says physical education teacher, Sean Glynn. “The past years have shown us that now more than ever, students should be getting outside daily for physical activity in order to improve their physical and mental health. I want my students to fall in love with the game of tennis because it is a sport that you can play for your whole life.”
Coach Glynn’s own love of the game has shown in his effort to get as many of the 650 Allamanda students as he can hitting age-appropriate tennis balls with the age-appropriate racquets — as the lone physical education teacher at the school.
“The biggest challenge in teaching tennis lessons is facilitating and monitoring tennis station activities all by myself,” said Coach Glynn. “I am the only P.E. teacher here and it is challenging to have three or four stations operating correctly so that students are remaining safe and practicing the skill that they are supposed to be with fidelity all at the same time.”
Allamanda’s Health and Wellness Program seeks to “embrace the education of the whole child,” with all students at the beginning of the school year setting both academic and wellness goals. Students participate in daily physical activity and receive weekly lessons in the Health and Wellness Lab. Clubs for tennis, golf, running, soccer, basketball, music and movement, cheerleading, and more are part of a healthy lifestyle that also incorporate parent involvement activities.
“The right-sized racquets provide the best chance of success for the students,” Coach Glynn says. “I would say about 70-75% really enjoyed the tennis unit and have a newfound enjoyment for the game of tennis.”
Allamanda has teamed with local provider Marcy’s Tennis Academy to assist with the after-school club which has more than 40 student members. Also unique to the school is its large population of students on the autism spectrum, making up more than 20% of the total student population. Allamanda has also partnered with the Love Serving Autism program to expand the life skills and inclusion of students with autism.
“We want to provide quality education and lessons to all students at our school, and properly-sized equipment has helped accomplish that,” Coach Glynn noted. “With the help of the USTA Florida Section Foundation grant, these new experiences will go a long way towards building the next generation of life-long tennis players and maybe even a pro or two!”
For information on school grants from the USTA Florida Foundation, go to ustafloridafoundation.com/apply-for-grants.
About the USTA Florida Section Foundation
With a mission of “Changing Lives through Tennis,” the USTA Florida Section Foundation provides financial support to organizations that help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through the great game of tennis. To learn more or to apply for a grant go to ustafloridafoundation.com.