A Q&A with Lester Maher
Lester from Laidley District State School (QLD) has been running Jump Rope for Heart since 2017. In that time, he’s built a wealth of knowledge on what works when it comes to running Jump Rope for Heart. We caught up with Lester to ask him his top tips for running a successful program. Here’s what he had to say.
How do you launch the program?
Like most schools, our program begins with an official ‘launch’. At Laidley, we run a school-wide parade, but in the days and weeks before the launch, I send out promotional material such as the ‘launch PowerPoint presentation’ for teachers do present in their classroom, flyers for students to take home and digital images for teachers to make their class updates look great.
How do you keep everyone up-to-date?
It’s important that teachers, parents and students are completely informed. Each week I create a school ‘snapshot’ of our progress on Facebook and in our school newsletters, which includes money raised, how many students are registered and actively fundraising.
How do you keep everyone motivated throughout the program?
We set mini competitions and challenges to help with goal setting. This year, we’ve had a free dress day, ice blocks for the class with the most registrations, and teachers came to school dressed in a onesie. The highlight was when a selection of teachers nominated themselves to be hit with cream pies if the students hit a small fundraising target.
On our Jump Off Day, our Principal bravely had an ice bucket poured over him when we reached our school fundraising goal. All these events created a sense of fun and excitement that not only helps to promote the program at the school, but students go home and tell all of these stories to parents. We also have a skipping club on various days, where our keen students can skip at lunch time and do various activities.
How do you squeeze as much as possible into your Jump-off Day?
The day begins with a school parade where we congratulate the students and wider school community, and announce our top fundraisers and skippers. This is our third Jump Off Day as a school, so we now have a set timetable for the day, with classes at each year level scheduled at different times to come and skip – it’s an efficient way to run the program and the staff also have fun joining the skipping. There is an almost disco-like atmosphere with energetic music and lights.
What advice would you have for teachers looking to run Jump Rope for Heart?
My main advice is to give it a go. Start with a plan of what you want the program to look like, and consult with other staff members and student council about what the program could look like. It helps get everyone enthusiastic and motivated to do well.
Throughout the program, involve as many different staff members as possible. This helps students to see them in a different light.