Warren Coalition is using a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
to implement the SPARK Physical Education program

San Diego, CA, February 12, 2013 — To battle the growing childhood obesity issue countrywide , the Warren Coalition in Front Royal, VA welcomed Middle School Coordinator Meredith Bloomfield this school year to implement the SPARK Physical Education (PE) curriculum. The program, funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY), gives more than 800 students from both Warren County Middle School and Brighter Futures access to SPARK curriculum and equipment. SPARK is the provider of the world’s most-researched and field-tested physical education program.

“We try to incorporate a SPARK activity into our basic lessons,” said Bloomfield. “If a student is sitting out during indoor soccer, we use resistance bands to get them moving on the sidelines. Even those who do not dress for class or have a cast for instance, I have been using the resistance bands to music. Everyone in there is moving.”

Bloomfield’s main responsibility is to implement the SPARK curriculum during PE classes at both schools two to three times a week. Bloomfield works with four other PE teachers at Warren County Middle School to coordinate a rotation of activities to ensure that all students participate in the SPARK activity.

“The other PE teachers were nervous with the changes at first, but I reassured them that this is what I am here for,” said Bloomfield. “One teacher, Sonja Osbourn, said it has refreshed and revitalized the PE classes. It’s not the same old program. She feels it gets the kids moving a lot more.”

Bloomfield also works with the Wings of Empowerment group, an afterschool running group for girls, to discuss body image and healthy food choices. Suggested by Alan Fox, principal of Warren County Middle School, Bloomfield will also begin discussing food choices and portion sizes with all students during lunch to make them conscious of what they are putting into their bodies.

“Motivating the students and watching them participate is very rewarding,” said Bloomfield. “At first, some students were afraid to try something, saying, ‘Oh no, I can’t.’ I encouraged them by doing it with them. Once the kids saw me do it, they knew they could do it too.”

About The Warren Coalition
Warren County Community Health Coalition is a nonprofit agency established in 1994 to help fill the gaps in health care and substance abuse awareness to the community. The Coalition began under the guidance of Warren Memorial Hospital as an outreach project but has since grown and was incorporated in 2001. We continue to work towards making Warren County a safe, healthy, and drug free community through the many programs we provide.

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

Kati Elliott
Public Relations for SPARK

Rachael Ballard
Public Relations for SPARK


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