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Press Release: SPARK Joins Forces with Let’s Move! Active Schools as Official Supporting Organization

SPARK’s resources support inclusion of physical activity throughout the school day

San Diego, CA, April 16, 2014 — To promote the importance of lifelong wellness and an active school day, SPARK™, provider of the world’s most-researched physical education programs, has become an Official Supporting Organization of Let’s Move! Active Schools, a sub-initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. As one of the first organizations to support the initiative, SPARK will work directly with schools and districts to encourage them to sign up for Let’s Move! Active Schools at www.letsmoveschools.org. SPARK has also launched an incentives program for schools to support them in their continued progress with the program.

According to the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “young people aged 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests schools can support these recommendations by providing physical activity throughout the school day, including recess, classroom-based physical activity, intramural physical activity clubs, interscholastic sports, and physical education. However, despite these recommendations, many schools fall short in creating opportunities to engage students in regular physical activity. SPARK, along with the other Official Supporting Organizations, will provide free and low-cost resources to schools so they can provide physical activity before, during and after school for students.

“Schools play such an important role in supporting the overall health and well-being of our Nation’s youth,” said Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN). “We need students to have early positive experiences with physical activity that will set them on the course to a healthy life. By implementing Let’s Move! Active Schools with the support of SPARK’s resources, school can take important steps towards integrating physical activity into student’s everyday lives.”

Let’s Move! Active Schools is a collaborative effort between the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Society of Health and Physical Education and the PCFSN to solve the problem of obesity. The joint initiative provides schools, parents, youth and communities with tips and resources for incorporating physical activity into any lifestyle to make it a priority. Schools that sign up for Let’s Move! Active Schools work to improve their physical education and student wellness policies and programs, including the addition of physical activity opportunities throughout the school day, encouraging students to engage in active commuting, and the implementation of policies that support physical activity.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to support a program as well-respected as Let’s Move! Active Schools,” said Paul Rosengard, Executive Director of SPARK. “SPARK’s goal is to improve the health of children everywhere. We do that by providing teachers with evidence-based curriculum and training so they maximize their students physically activity levels during school. We share this mission with Let’s Move! and our partnership makes great sense. We encourage all schools to pledge their allegiance to this healthy initiative.”

Schools that sign up before January 1, 2015 and indicate that they heard about Let’s Move! Active Schools from SPARK will be automatically entered into a monthly drawing for a $100 SPARK gift certificate. In addition, one school will be chosen as a Grand Prize winner to receive an all-expenses paid trip for one individual to attend a 2015 SPARK Institute in San Diego. SPARK activities are designed to be more inclusive, active and fun than traditional PE classes. SPARK lessons incorporate student-directed learning, differentiated instruction and sports education to motivate students to participate and develop a lifelong love of activity. SPARK has been proven to work with PE specialists, as well as classroom and after school teachers, thus providing more opportunities for students to be physically active during the day.

For more information about SPARK’s involvement in the Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative, visit: http://www.sparkpe.org/physical-education-resources/lets-move-active-schools/.

About Let’s Move! Active Schools
Let’s Move! Active Schools is a program that empowers school champions—Physical Education teachers, classroom teachers, principals, administrators, and parents–to create active environments that enable all students to get moving and reach their full potential. The program provides simple steps and tools to help schools create active environments where students get 60 minutes of physical activity before, during, and after the school day. Participating schools receive priority for physical education and physical activity grants associated with the program, while also becoming eligible for customized technical assistance and professional development. Any school in the United States can enroll and receive assistance and support, at no cost. Find out more at letsmoveschools.org.

About SPARK
SPARK is a collection of research-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs for educators serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum materials, teacher training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. SPARK also helps educators find physical education grants. For more information on SPARK, visit http://www.sparkpe.org or email spark(at)sparkpe(dot)org or call 1-800-SPARK-PE.

Media Contacts:

Katie Fenton
SPARK Marketing Director
800.772.7573 ext. 2212
katie.fenton@sparkpe.org

Kati Elliott
KEH Communications
410-975-9638
kati@kehcomm.com

Rachael Ballard
KEH Communications
410-975-9638
Rachael@kehcomm.com

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