2008 News

60th Annual Convention - Be an Action Hero November 20-22, 2008 Winston-Salem, North Carolina

NCAAHPERD is pleased to unveil a statewide preventative initiative to address childhood obesity and disease. Raleigh, NC - The North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, a membership organization networking and supporting professionals in the field, is uniquely situated to support our state's most comprehensive preventative health effort to reach children and early adolescents. We are excited to spread the good news about our most ambitious project to date: The In-School Prevention of Obesity and Disease Initiative.

About the In-School Prevention of Obesity and Disease Initiative: In the fall of 2006, NCAAHPERD applied for and received a $400,000 grant from the Health and Wellness Trust Fund to address health disparities in eight targeted NC counties. It was our wish to become more pro-active in the battle against obesity and its associated diseases, particularly with school-age children. Based on our tremendous success with these six counties, we began exploring possibilities to expand the program statewide. We are pleased to announce our partnership with The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in this effort. The Trust has committed over three million dollars to the implementation of this project over the next four years. In addition, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation has stepped up with a $126,000 grant in order to ensure that participating teachers have access to the necessary equipment to implement the curriculum. "Our hope, as we build capacity with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable trust, is to continue our partnership with the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation without whose support we would not be able to deliver this state-wide program," announced Dr. Ron Morrow, Executive Director of NCAAHPERD.

"For the first time in more than 100 years, our children's life expectancy is declining due to the increase in overweight. Four Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists recently predicted that nearly one-third of individuals born in 2000 would develop diabetes in their lifetime."

Through the Initiative, NCAAHPERD will provide specialized, research-based physical education curriculum training. After much investigation, we chose the SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) curriculum. We are impressed with SPARK's tested and proven success in delivering: 1) Increased moderate to vigorous physical activity in students; 2) Fitness achievement (measured by FITNESSGRAM); 3) Academic achievement; 4) Sport skills development; and 5) enjoyment of physical education to name a few.

"This program gives teachers the tools to provide better daily physical education for their students. The SPARK curriculum provides teachers with sequential lessons that will help improve both fitness and skill levels of our students and is designed to encourage maximum participation during class time. Active participation and practice are the means for improving students' fitness, skills, and enjoyment." Lisa Queen, MA, NBCT, Physical Education Teacher, Troutman Middle School trained through this initiative and uses both SPARK and Fitnessgram in her physical education classes.

A significant component of the Initiative is the survey evaluation process in place for both teachers and students. Students complete surveys on "Physical Activity" and "Fruit and Vegetable Intake" three times during the school year. In this school year alone, we have received over 50,000 student surveys! The pool of data we will be collecting over the next four years will be the largest of its kind in existence, a gold-mine for researchers, educators, and policy-makers. With this information we hope to be able to assess the state of physical education in North Carolina. Our NC state legislators and Boards of Education have never been presented with this type of data from NC's children when making policy decisions that affect physical education in schools.

Background Information The 2007 Economic Cost of Unhealthy Lifestyles in North Carolina study cites four important risk factors among adults that "contribute to the annual loss of $24.1 billion in public and private money. These risk factors are a lack of physical activity (nearly $9 billion); excess weight ($9.7 billion); type II diabetes ($3 billion); and inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption ($2.4 billion). To put the $24.1 billion figure in perspective, the entire annual budget for the state of North Carolina is about $17 billion." If we do nothing, the cost for the risk factors addressed above could easily increase by nearly 50% over the next five years.

According to studies in North Carolina, we cannot anticipate that there will be much, if any, improvement in childhood over-weight and obesity. Various research data confirm that childhood obesity has more than tripled nationally from 1975 to 2004. At the same time, numerous North Carolina State organizations and agencies (i.e., North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction) have confirmed that childhood overweight continues to grow.

Our goals for the Initiative

  • Train all North Carolina physical educators in SPARK
  • Have all physical educators conduct bi-annual FITNESSGRAM testing
  • Send several NC SPARK trained teachers to attend the San Diego SPARK Institute becoming state trainers
  • Provide meaningful data to our legislators and state and local boards of education that show the impact of quality physical education by a certified physical educator. Healthy active children attend school, do better academically and stand a greater chance of becoming healthy active adults.
  • Continue partnering with all groups addressing childhood obesity
  • Be a leader in the fight for "Healthy Active North Carolinians"

"Currently all of our physical education teachers in elementary and middle school have been trained in the SPARK curriculum. As a result of this training and implementation of the curriculum we have started to make progress in getting our students to participate in more physical activity." Wanda Greene, Director of Middle School Education, Union County Public Schools

"The SPARK program is a great program because the games are lots of fun and I like them." - Celia Brown, 6th grader

About The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust was established in 1947. The mission of the Trust is to improve the quality of life and quality of health for the financially needy of North Carolina. Across its two divisions, the Health Care Division and the Poor and Needy Division, the Trust is committed to accelerating positive movement on critical community issues and effecting enduring systemic change. Within the Health Care Division, one of KBR's strategic intent is in supporting prevention - promoting wellness by providing systemic change before conditions occur or are diagnosed. Within this goal of providing and supporting prevention, NCAAHPERD will employ strategies that promote systemic change through innovation, impact, influence, and leverage.

About the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NCAAHPERD) NCAAHPERD is a 501(C)(3) not for profit organization of Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance professionals whose mission is "To provide advocacy, professional development, and unity for health, physical education, recreation, dance, and athletics professionals and students in order to enhance and promote the health of North Carolinians. Our vision is to be the leading organization promoting and supporting a healthier, more creative and active North Carolina."

Contacts Judy Martino, Grant Program Specialist - Office - 919-833-1985 Ron Morrow, Executive Director - Office - 919-833-1219

Related Links www.ncaahperd.org www.sparkpe.org http://www.fitnessgram.net


ALLIANCE FOR A HEALTHIER GENERATION TEAMS UP WITH SCHOOL SPECIALTY TO COMBAT CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Greenville, WI, April 3, 2008 – The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and School Specialty have teamed up to help schools encourage students and staff to develop lifelong, healthy habits and increase physical activity.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, has identified School Specialty’s SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids) program as an approved physical education curriculum resource for schools in its Healthy Schools Program. The comprehensive SPARK program includes a research-based physical education curriculum, on-site teacher training, and content matched equipment sets from School Specialty’s Sportime business line.

“The SPARK approach to inclusiveness, quality physical education and after school programs reflects many of our views of how schools can raise the effectiveness of their physical education efforts,” said Lisa Perry, national physical education and physical activity manager for the Healthy Schools Program. “Educators recognize that we’re in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. Through the Healthy Schools Program we’re providing them with additional resources to promote lifelong, healthy habits, and to assure that all students have the opportunity to exercise and play.”

The Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program offers support to schools nationwide to create school environments that promote physical activity and healthy eating for students and staff. Currently, 968 schools in 34 states receive on-site Healthy Schools Program assistance and more than 1,300 schools receive online and telephone assistance. Any school in the country is eligible to participate in the Healthy Schools Program at no cost and the Alliance expects to expand that support to more than 22,000 schools by 2010.

In support of the Healthy Schools Program, School Specialty will also provide eight schools with free SPARK curriculum training, manuals and equipment. In addition, the company is offering all participating schools discounted pricing on the SPARK curriculum and equipment.

Paul Rosengard, executive director of School Specialty’s SPARK program, says, “We are honored that SPARK was selected as an approved curriculum choice for the Healthy Schools Program. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is doing important work in fighting one of the country’s leading health threats, childhood obesity. The SPARK mission is a perfect match for the goals and objectives of the Alliance, and we look forward to seeing the positive results from students’ improved activity levels and healthy behaviors.”

Pete Savitz, president of School Specialty’s Sportime business line, adds, “The assistance we’re offering schools will provide additional tools and support to further their Healthy Schools Program efforts.  We hope this collaboration between organizations and companies will serve as a model for how groups can join together and pool resources to improve the health of our children.”

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation The William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association partnered in May of 2005 to create a new generation of healthy Americans by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to stop the nationwide increase in childhood obesity by 2010, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance will positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, visit www.healthiergeneration.org or contact Tricia Garrison, Marketing and Communications Director, (646) 775-9150.

About The SPARK Programs SPARK is a research-based organization that creates, implements, and evaluates programs that promote lifelong wellness. The SPARK Programs consist of Early Childhood, K-12 Physical Education, After School, and Coordinated School Health. Each SPARK program provides curriculum, teacher training, follow up support and consultation, and content matched equipment sets through their exclusive corporate sponsor, School Specialty’s Sportime business line. For more information on SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org; or email: spark@sparkpe.org; or call 1-800-sparkpe.

About School Specialty School Specialty 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. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help educators, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.


By: Julie Henry NBC 17-Durham, NC March 5th, 2008

PE Classes Get an Extra SPARK

DURHAM, N.C. – Students at Watts Magnet Elementary School in Durham don’t have a lot of down time during P.E. class. Teacher Stephanie Brennan starts them off with a warm-up jog around the gym followed by stretching and sit-ups.

After some brief instructions, this group of fifth graders launches into a rousing game of speed ball. Brennan credits the Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids, or SPARK, program for bringing more variety into her P.E. class.

“I tend to teach what the kids like at the time,” she said. “This year, I have more focus.”

North Carolina’s SPARK program was funded by a grant from the Health and Wellness Trust Fund and was started in eight high needs counties in the state, including Durham County. Brennan is one of 275 elementary and middle school teachers statewide that have been trained with research-based lesson plans, warm-ups, games and activities to teach physical education.

Activities are learned in stages with specific objectives. And best of all, kids get moving right away.

“The game we played today is a prime example,” said Brennan. “There are three rules to the game. I explained the rules, we’re up, we’re moving. And then they get to play for 20 to 30 minutes.”

And SPARK has paid off. Not only do the students at Watts enjoy playing, but they’ve already improved their fitness scores on things like body mass index and flexibility.

“Another goal of ours is to tie physical activity improvement with low absenteeism and grades,” said Judy Martino, grant program specialist for the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, which administers the SPARK program. “We think that we can collect quite a bit of data to supply our legislators.”

Martino says there have been challenges in getting PE teachers to attend daylong training sessions. And although the program is offered at no charge, some school districts have been reluctant to get involved.

But if these fifth graders are any indication, the program offers just the SPARK that schools need to keep kids healthy and fit.

For more information about SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org.

For more information about the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, visit www.ncaahperd.org


By: Kimberly Wetzel Contra Costa Times- Contra Costa, CA February 4th, 2008

A Healthy Approach To Education

In recent years, many school districts have focused more on training students to ace that English or math test than whipping them into shape for the mile run in gym class.

But the West Contra Costa Unified School District wants to change that.

The state awarded block grants to districts across California to boost physical education and arts programs. West Contra Costa is using $600,000 of a $1.2 million grant to build a comprehensive fitness program designed to help students develop healthy lifestyles, hiring a PE curriculum specialist to oversee it.

On the arts front, the district is investing in supplies and professional development.

One in three California children is considered obese, and West Contra Costa students historically have not done well on state fitness tests that measure their ability to run a mile or complete other tests in aerobic endurance; body fat and flexibility; and abdominal, lower-back and upper-body strength.

"With this huge obesity problem, we can't ignore it, we have to address it," said Doris Avalos, curriculum director for the district.

With money tight, the district has not been able to focus on PE in the past.

"We have not had sums of funding other than to really repair what we have," she said.

The grant money is being used to purchase new equipment such as weight-training machines at the high schools and to implement a nationally recognized fitness program called Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids, or SPARK, at the elementary and middle school levels.

The hope is that the new program will get students excited about exercise at the elementary level so they can build on it at the middle and high school levels and beyond, said Matt Stewart, the district's PE curriculum specialist.

"We just need to take care of our kids and make sure that the wellness program in our district takes shape," Stewart said. "With all the demands put on teachers, PE has been pushed aside. We hope to give the teachers the tools to have functioning PE in the classrooms."

The SPARK program, developed by educators at San Diego State University, combines lessons in healthy living with physical activity. It already has been implemented by the district and is being piloted at Madera, Washington, Sheldon and Castro elementaries. All the elementary schools should be using the program by spring or fall, Stewart said.

The district also plans to purchase data software to help teachers track students' fitness progress and determine where more help or emphasis is needed. PE teachers will be able to use the software to administer the state fitness tests more accurately.

New fitness equipment for the high school weight rooms already is coming in. Richmond High received 13 new weight-training pieces, new dumbbells and five stationary bikes in December, and other schools should expect theirs soon, Stewart said.

The new equipment is a huge improvement over the old, students say.

"A lot of it was real old and all torn up," said Emanuel Montiel, a 15-year-old sophomore. "This stuff is nice."

Richmond PE teacher Zach Shrieve said the equipment is already getting kids interested in working out: Seven students transferred into his weight-training class in one week last month.

"It's like a legitimate fitness center now, and the best part is it's female-friendly," Shrieve said, gesturing to the bikes and the new, lightweight set of dumbbells in the corner. "The interest in the class is way up."

Reach Kimberly S. Wetzel at 510-262-2798 or kwetzel@bayareanewsgroup.com.


SCHOOL SPECIALTY’S SPARK PHYSICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM CHOSEN TO HELP NORTH CAROLINA STUDENTS GET HEALTHY

Greenville, WI, July 15, 2008—School Specialty (NASDAQ:SCHS), a leading education company providing supplemental learning products to the preK-12 market, today announced its Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARKTM) curriculum product line has been chosen to support a new statewide preventative health effort to reach children and early adolescents in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NCAAHPERD) obtained a four-year grant from The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to implement the In-School Prevention of Obesity and Disease Initiative across the state, with additional support from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to purchase necessary equipment to implement the program.

“We are impressed with SPARK’s tested and proven success in delivering increased physical activity in students, fitness achievement, academic achievement, sport skills development and enjoyment of physical activity, to name a few of the benefits of this curriculum,” said Ron Morrow, executive director, NCAAHPERD.

A NCAAHPERD pilot program trained more than 280 physical education teachers in using the SPARK curriculum. Simultaneously, NCAAHPERD representatives began working with the physical education departments of 16 university education programs to include preparation for teaching the SPARK curriculum with their students. Over the next four years, new physical education teachers will graduate fully prepared to implement the program in their first year of teaching.

“SPARK’s primary mission is to provide research-based programs to counter childhood obesity,” said Paul Rosengard, Executive Director of School Specialty’s SPARK Programs. “We’re thrilled that our program’s proven ability to help children become engaged in physical activity, health and wellness so clearly matches the goals of North Carolina’s In-School Prevention of Obesity and Disease initiative.

“Together we’re focused on supporting certified physical educators in helping today’s children become healthy and active, attend school, do better academically, and instill habits for these children to become healthy, active adults,” said Rosengard.

Traditional physical education classes provide only 17.8 minutes of moderate physical activity per student each week. As a result of North Carolina teachers using the SPARK curriculum, students have increased their level of moderate to vigorous physical activity to 40.2 minutes per student per week.

Teachers participating in School Specialty’s SPARK training are making a difference in their students’ lives. “This program gives teachers the tools to provide better daily physical education for their students,” said Lisa Queen, MA, NBCT, Physical Education Teacher, Troutman Middle School, Troutman, NC. “The SPARK curriculum provides teachers with sequential lessons that will help improve both fitness and skill levels of our students and is designed to encourage maximum participation during class time. Active participation and practice are the means for improving students’ fitness, skills, and enjoyment.” Queen has received training through the initiative on implementing the SPARK curriculum in her physical education classes.

“Currently all of our physical education teachers in elementary and middle school have been trained in the SPARK curriculum. As a result of this training and implementation of the curriculum, we have started to make progress in getting our students to participate in more physical activity,” said Wanda Greene, Director of Middle School Education, Union County Public Schools, Matthews, NC.

Students like the program, too. “The SPARK program is a great program because the games are lots of fun and I like them,” said Ceila Brown, a 6th grader, Troutman Middle School.

Research data confirm that childhood obesity has more than tripled nationally from 1975 to 2004.

The SPARK curriculum is a research-based program developed by San Diego State University and offered exclusively by School Specialty’s Sportime business unit. The program combines healthy lifestyle messaging and take-home materials with physical activity exercises that ensure all students are able to participate successfully. SPARK has over 45 publications in peer-reviewed journals that show SPARK improves student activity levels, fitness, sport skills, enjoyment of physical education, and academic achievement. Teachers improve quantity and quality of instruction, and the effects of SPARK, once implemented, are sustainable over time.

About The SPARK Programs SPARK is a research-based organization that creates, implements, and evaluates programs that promote lifelong wellness. The SPARK Programs consist of Early Childhood, K-12 Physical Education, After School, and Coordinated School Health. Each SPARK program provides curriculum, teacher training, follow up support and consultation, and content matched equipment sets through their exclusive corporate sponsor, School Specialty’s Sportime business line. For more information on SPARK, visit www.sparkpe.org; or email: spark@sparkpe.org; or call 1-800-sparkpe.

About School Specialty School Specialty 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. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help educators, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

About the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NCAAHPERD) NCAAHPERD is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization of Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance professionals whose mission is “To provide advocacy, professional development, and unity for health, physical education, recreation, dance, and athletics professionals and students in order to enhance and promote the health of North Carolinians.” For more information about NCAAHPERD, visit www.ncaahperd.org.

FACT SHEET

Background:

  • Research confirms that nationwide, childhood obesity more than tripled between 1975 and 2004.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Instruction have confirmed a continued escalation of childhood obesity in the state.
  • A 2007 study entitled Economic Cost of Unhealthy Lifestyles in North Carolina cites four important risk factors among adults that "contribute to the annual loss of $24.1 billion in public and private money."
    • Lack of physical activity
    • Excess weight
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption
    In 2007, this annual loss was greater than the entire annual budget for the state of North Carolina, which was approximately $17 billion.
  • For the first time in more than 100 years, the life expectancy for American children is declining due to the increase in overweight and obesity.
  • Four scientists of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that nearly one-third of individuals born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

The SPARK Curriculum:

  • The SPARK curriculum was developed by School Specialty (NASDAQ:SCHS), which provides supplemental learning products to the preK-12 market.
  • The SPARK curriculum has shown tested and proven success in delivering increased physical activity and fitness activity among students.
  • Schools using the SPARK curriculum implemented by physical education teachers trained by NCAAHPERD report related benefits to students, including improved academic achievement, sports skills development and enjoyment of physical activity.

Implementation of the ISPOD Initiative:

  • The program will continue to operate in the eight NC counties that participated in the pilot program: Bertie, Duplin, Durham, Robeson, Chatham, Union, Iredell, and Jackson.
  • Plans call for expanding the program to 25 new counties per year.
  • At this time, participation is voluntary on the part of each school system. However, because of the positive outcomes experienced during the pilot program, other school systems began expressing interest before the expansion was announced.
  • The initiative has the support of Kymm Ballard, Director of Physical Education at the NC Department of Public Instruction and Dr. June Atkinson, NC State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • The program can be initiated without any cost to the school system. The grant awarded by the Trust covers teacher training and substitute pay on training days, software, manuals, and equipment. A supplemental grant of $126,000 from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation will also support equipment needed for the project.

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust:

  • The mission of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust is to improve the quality of life and quality of health for the financially needy of North Carolina. Within its Health Care Division, the Trust seeks to support prevention and promote wellness by providing services that bring about change before unhealthy conditions occur or are diagnosed.
  • Based on free and reduced lunch records, 57% of K-8 students who will benefit from this program meet the criteria for funding to "financially needy of North Carolina" as stated in the mandate governing the Trust.

Contacts Judy Martino, Grant Program Specialist – Office – 919-833-1985 Ron Morrow, Executive Director – Office – 919-833-1219 Ryan Schissler, SPARK Community Relations, 619-293-7990 ext. 211

Related Links www.ncaahperd.org www.sparkpe.org www.fitnessgram.net