War Horse Release:
Baltimore, Md. – August 27, 2015 – On August 27, 2015, Scott Plank, War Horse Founder and former Under Armour Executive and his wife Dana DiCarlo, were joined with Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools, Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers, and Nate Costa, CEO, FX Well, to celebrate the opening of the Teacher Wellness Center at Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School (FSK) in Locust Point. The J.S. Plank & D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation funded the wellness center as part of a multiyear commitment to the school. Over the past three years, Plank has funded the redesign and renovations to the student cafeteria and teacher collaboration spaces, modeled after private sector designs.
The Teacher Wellness Center is an integrated model of health and wellness based on the philosophy that by caring for teachers, we can better care for our children. Research studies clearly indicate that on-site wellness programs have the potential to attract qualified employees and to positively affect productivity and efficiency (Sullivan, 2002). Participation in employee health promotion programs reduces absenteeism related to such health issues as stress, obesity, and cardiovascular disease (Aldana & Pronk, 2001). Besides the health benefits, wellness programs can have a positive effect on teamwork, morale, and teacher effectiveness. 1
“We believe that collaboration through our philanthropic investment in facilities and innovative programming which encourages and supports healthy lifestyle for our public servants is a key formula for improving our communities. The Teacher Wellness Center is an extension of this philosophy and it complements our previous work at FSK,” said Scott Plank, Founder, War Horse. “Through our efforts in real estate, hospitality, and philanthropy projects such as Anthem House, Belvedere Square, our police fitness and training centers, and now this Teacher Wellness Center, we are investing in our hometown and demonstrating our commitment to Baltimore everyday.”
“Our teachers are critical in advancing student achievement, so anything we can do to improve their health and well-being is good for them, good for our schools, and good for our students. I am grateful to Scott Plank, Dana DiCarlo and War Horse for recognizing our teachers’ hard work and dedication in such a meaningful way.” stated Dr. Gregory E. Thornton, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools.
“To continue to improve the quality and academic achievement of Baltimore’s students, we must also improve the quality of life, the health and the productivity of teachers and school-related staff,” said Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Teachers. “The Teacher Wellness Center is a positive step in the right direction. We look forward to working with the district, the community and local businesses to create more opportunities similar to this one.”
“The renovations to the cafeteria, teacher collaboration spaces, and the Teacher Wellness Center have supported teacher retention and morale,” said Mickelli Dunn, Principal, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School. “FSK has a great working environment, and that benefits our entire school community. War Horse and the J.S. Plank & D.M. DiCarlo Family Foundation have helped make a difference in the lives of our teachers, staff, and children.”
“The Teacher Wellness Center model is an approach to health that we see often in the private sector, but is underrepresented in school systems, an area with high burnout rates and high stress,” said Nate Costa, CEO FX Well. “FX Well is working closely with War Horse and the Institute of Integrative Health to develop customized baseline testing procedures for the FSK Wellness Program, based on peer-reviewed, published question and information gathering practices, to both establish the baseline and measure performance over time. Offering technology and fitness tools to educators, along with a strong support network, empowers them to work to inspire others.”
Built to leverage Under Armour’s connected fitness philosophy, FX Well designed programs for the Teacher Wellness Center that integrate with wearable devices (Jawbone, Fitbit, Withings) and mobile platforms (UA Record, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal) using #FSKfit.
The ability to create fitness challenges around these devices and platforms allow for deeper connections with program participants as well as the opportunity to foster a social component that will lead to increased participation, collaboration, and team-building.
The 1,574 square foot Teacher Wellness Center features treadmills, an Arc Trainer, upright bike, recumbent bike, rowing machine, 14′ monkey bar/rack system, dumbbells, two adjustable benches, and a variety of equipment including battle ropes and medicine balls.
The goal is to provide the type of variety that can appeal to everyone while ensuring that workouts always remain fresh, fun and engaging. This balance of flexibility and ease of use makes efficient use of the space.
War Horse is currently a partner at Anthem House, Locust Point’s mixed-use development that recently broke ground and will include 275 apartments and 19,000 sq. ft. of retail. War Horse also owns the former Rallo’s/Big Matty’s and rear parking lot across Lawrence St. from Anthem House. The property was recently approved for a transfer of the former Thornton’s liquor license.
War Horse, along with Caves Valley Partners is also currently in an Exclusive Negotiating Privilege (“ENP”) agreement with the Baltimore Public Markets Corporation (BPMC) for the redevelopment of the Cross Street Market.