Buffalo Jones Elementary School Wins Nationwide ‘Healthy School Makeover Contest’

Christmas comes early for Kansas school as it receives $45,000 in physical education curriculum, equipment and training to make it a model healthy learning environment

San Diego, CA, December 11, 2012 — Buffalo Jones Elementary School in Garden City, Kan., beat out 200 entries and received a majority of the 129,000 total public votes to be named the winner of the first Healthy School Makeover Contest. SPARK™, provider of the world’s most-researched and field-tested physical education program and a division of School Specialty, awarded Buffalo Jones Elementary School with the grand prize totaling up to $45,000 in products and services from leading organizations. The contest was sponsored by SPARK, Sportime, AAHPERD/NASPE, Healthy Kids Challenge, Skillastics, Healthy Lifestyle Choices, GenMove, The First Tee, Polar, and the ANNIKA Foundation.

“I am just so thrilled for what this will mean for our kids,” said Kerri Steelman, the Buffalo Jones Elementary School teacher who nominated the school for the contest. “I’ve talked to other teachers in other districts who say the SPARK program is the best equipment, programming and training they have ever used. The kids stay engaged and enthusiastic because everybody participates. It is incredible to think that it was a nationwide competition for a single $45,000 grand prize and our school won. “

Buffalo Jones Elementary serves approximately 350 students in grades Pre-K-4. The school will now have access to products and services to help educators promote wellness and healthy habits in students to improve their health and overall educational experience. A special event will be held at the school after the winter break to allow pro golfer Annika Sorenstam to present the school with their prize. Media interested in attending this event can call Rachael Ballard at 410-975-9638 or email her at Rachael@kehcomm.com.

“The childhood obesity epidemic is a serious issue and will continue to be so until our society makes a concerted effort to change it,” said Paul Rosengard, Executive Director at SPARK. “Buffalo Jones Elementary is taking a big step toward instilling the importance of lifelong wellness into its community. Schools need to emphasize the importance of quality physical education, and educators and parents need to become advocates for their students’ health and well-being.”

Buffalo Jones Elementary school will now receive:
• SPARK: SPARK Curriculum and Training package, valued at more than $10,000
• Sportime: Equipment package aligned with SPARK program, valued at up to $9,000
• Healthy Kids Challenge: “Balance My Day” nutrition curriculum package and training, valued at $2,400
• AAHPERD/NASPE: Customized Lets Move in School training package valued at $4,500
• Skillastics: Two Let’s Move in School Skillastics packages and training, valued at more than $2,000
• Healthy Lifestyle Choices: HLC Curriculum and Training package, valued at $5,500
• GenMove: Equipment, programming and training package valued at $3,300
• The First Tee: The First Tee National School Program curriculum, training and equipment, valued at more than$3,200
• Polar: Polar Active classroom pack, valued at $3,300
• ANNIKA Foundation: Annika Sorenstam to present grand prize to winner

To find view Buffalo Jones Elementary School’s winning video, visit www.healthyschoolmakeover.com.

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 educational resources, teacher training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. For more information on SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org or call 1-800-SPARK-PE.

About School Specialty
School Specialty (NASDAQ: SCHS) is a leading education company that provides innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to help educators engage and inspire students of all ages and abilities to learn. The company designs, develops, and provides PreK-12 educators with the latest and very best curriculum, supplemental learning resources, and school supplies. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

Media Contacts:

Billy Beltz
SPARK Marketing Director
800-772-7573 x2247
Billy.Beltz@schoolspecialty.com

Kati Elliott
Public Relations for SPARK
410-975-9638
Kati@kehcomm.com

Rachael Ballard
Public Relations for SPARK
410-975-9638
Rachael@kehcomm.com

###

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura