Madison Middle School in Rexburg was one of more than 100 schools that received funding from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health’s Steps for Schools walking challenge in the past two years. The challenge invites elected officials to hit step goals in February to earn money for local schools to encourage students to be active.

Madison Middle School used the $1,000 it received from Senator Doug Ricks in 2020 to install EZ Scan, a software that measures how many miles students walk or run during gym class as part of the school’s pacer program. Each student is provided with a QR code, and each time they run or walk a quarter mile, it is logged.

Students earn charms as they log miles or participate on special holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day.

Participating students earn charms for reaching 10, 15, 26.2, 35, 45, 50 or 65 miles. The pacer program takes place every Monday and Wednesday at the school. On holidays such as Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day, students earn special charms for running 10 laps around the gym on those days, making them high-participation days.

Physical education instructor Debora Miles said the school also purchased posters that promote healthy foods in each food group that are displayed in the cafeteria and school gym.

“Teaching students to stay physically active is just as important as teaching students about the importance of nutrition in Madison Middle School,” she said. “We’re thankful for this grant in order to create a healthier environment for our students.”

The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health would love to know how other schools used their Steps for Schools funds. Email us at to let us know!

Posters displayed in the cafeteria and gym at Madison Middle School remind students what the healthiest options are for each of the food groups.