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October 25, 2016

Older CATCH programs, especially after teacher turnover, can often benefit from booster trainings. These trainings are a great way to prepare new staff and reinforce CATCH principals and practices. The stellar team in Missoula is a wonderful example of how the program can be reinvigorated and given new life.

The CATCH Program in Missoula was originally funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Missoula County in response to rising obesity rates reported by the CDC in 2002. However, after over ten years of implementation, Missoula’s CATCH champion, Lisa Tims, noticed the CATCH programs in her district weren’t operating at full capacity, particularly due to revolving staff. She decided to schedule a booster training for the district, saying “Trainings are really valuable. They leave teachers inspired and motivated to bring what they learn back to their campuses. It’s a great tool for restoring and maintaining the CATCH program.”

On August 18, 2016, CATCH Program Director and Trainer Peter Cribb came to Missoula and conducted a full-day booster training, with Lisa as a co-presenter. As she had hoped, many teachers left the training eager to reinvigorate their CATCH programs, and for some, incorporate CATCH into their school for the first time.

Hellgate Elementary, the largest independent Pre-K-8 school district in Montana with 1,500 students, was one such school. Following the training, 4th grade teacher Sue Rowe gained the support and approval of her school’s principal, Chris Clevenger, to pilot CATCH in her classroom. She made a bulletin board and began to incorporate CATCH into her weekly lesson plans.


3rd-5th Grade P.E. Teacher Derek Dungan also expressed interest to pilot CATCH in his P.E. classes. His wellness bulletin board just down the hall from the Sue’s CATCH bulletin board displays eating healthy and exercising for a healthy mind and body (below).


She plans to offer the curriculum to other interested teachers next month to pilot in other classrooms. Principal Clevenger says he will fully support CATCH implementation in every Hellgate Elementary classroom if teachers find the curriculum useful.

Missoula CATCH training has inspired not only Hellgate Elementary to fully coordinate CATCH campus-wide but other school districts and classrooms to refresh and reintroduce CATCH. “None of this would have been possible without Peter’s booster training,” says Lisa. Wellness funds are being used to purchase updated curriculum and Lisa will work with each individual school buildings, upon interest, to offer booster trainings to refresh CATCH to existing staff and introduce CATCH to new staff.

We at CATCH would like to give a special thanks to the faculty, staff, and other CATCH supporters integral to the program’s success in Missoula. This includes Lisa Tims, Susan Rowe, Principal Chris Clevenger, Derek Dungan, Dan Grey, Deb Sension-Hall, Rebecca Morley, Amber Strickland, Tiffany Alfson, among others. Keep up the great work!