(pictured: TCU Project Team Leaders, Dr. Debbie Rhea, LiiNK Project Creator & Dir., Superintendent Daniel Gallagher, and LEISD K-1 teachers at Chavez, Hackberry and Oak Point)Little Elm ISD continues to support LiiNK Project at every elementary campus. LiiNK, which stands for Let's Inspire Innovation N' Kids, is a program designed to triple the number of recess students have every day. But, it is more than giving elementary students more opportunities to play outside. It is a prescription to positively affect students' behavior and academics by offering four positive character lessons each week. This helps students learn to be problem solvers, productive, healthy, create positive social interactions, learning friendships, and how to be resilient.
The LiiNK Project, designed by Kinesiologist Dr. Debbie Rhea of Texas Christian University, is modeled after the Finnish school system in Finland where four recesses are part of the students' school day. Finland has an academic performance reputation for students consistently scoring high in the international rankings. Its American counterpart, LiiNK, is a grant program through TCU.Students in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades at three Little Elm ISD schools, Chavez, Hackberry and Oak Point, have benefited from the LiiNK Project the longest. During the 2016-2017, the District launched the program at these schools, beginning with Kindergarten and first grades. Since the roll-out, the District has added a grade level each year. LiiNK was implemented at Brent, Lakeview and Prestwick a year later, and will have grades K-2 for the 2018-2019 school year. The goal is to have LiiNK in grades K-5.TCU has conducted comparative research between schools who offer LiiNK and schools that don't. What they have found is a dip in behavior issues in students from 60% down to 28% of those participating in LiiNK. Their research has also shown a decrease in child body mass index (BMI) by half of a percent, down from 16.2% as compared to other schools not participating in LiiNK.