Archive for the ‘PEP Grant’ Category

East St. Louis School District 189 – PEP Grant Case Study

Friday, October 7th, 2016

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Putting Some PEP in Their Step

The East St. Louis School District didn’t have much of a PE program in its elementary schools; in fact, for over five years, it didn’t have any PE at all. Budget cuts and limited local funding for a school with a 100% free and reduced lunch rate led to the cutting of PE, which did not serve to improve an already high obesity rate among students. Things were about to change for the better in 2014 when the district applied for, and won, the Carol M. White PEP Grant.

East St. Louis School District 189 was in great need of evidence-based programming to transform their near non-existent PE program and student health statistics into an active, thriving, healthy program and student population. When they won the two-year grant, they sparked transformation right away in Year 1. Working with Cassie Wolvington, Sportime featuring SPARK Sales Representative, they ordered:

  • SPARK Curriculum Materials for K-12 Physical Education and After School,
  • Healthy Kids Challenge Nutrition Curriculum Materials for K-8
  • 5 Premium SPARK trainings for K-2, 3-6, Middle School, High School, After School
  • Modified Sportime equipment sets for K-12 and After School
  • Accusplit pedometers to track steps for grant reporting

To implement the new curriculum, training, and equipment, the district used PEP funding to hire four competent, creative, and energetic PE teachers.

Keeping up the positive momentum in Year 2, the district ordered:

  • Additional Curriculum Materials and Physical Education Equipment
  • SPARK Booster Trainings for K-2, 3-6, Middle School, High School, After School

Impressed with the great customer service and personal attention provided to them by their Sportime featuring SPARK Representative, they ordered an additional $145K worth of equipment.

Boys Track & Field Head Coach and PEP Grant Director Barry Malloyd commented on the experience, “Our district’s experience with SPARK has been life-changing for our PE teachers, students and parents. There is now a SPARK in our physical education programs like never before. The SPARK curriculum and trainings have provided our district with a SPARK of hope. The supplies, equipment, curriculum, trainings, and webinars that you provided us have catapulted our district’s PE program into the 21st Century. Our district administrators, PE teachers, students, and parents have given our PEP program a standing ovation because of our students’ drastic improvements in all areas of the GPRA Measures. It’s because of this SPARK that our district has some ‘PEP IN OUR STEPS!’”

Mr. Malloyd continued, “The benefits that our district is most excited about are the Fall and Spring SPARK trainings given to all of our district PE teachers and after school partners.  Also, the awesome supplies and equipment that you provide has made PE once again fun, exciting, and relevant in our school district. I could not and would not ever ask for another provider other than SPARK.”

From having no PE program to sparking a thriving, healthy, active PE program that is the envy of peer school districts – now that is a success story! Congratulations East St. Louis School District 189!

To learn more about the SPARK and PEP grant, click here.

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National Health Through Fitness Day 2016

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

SPARK Executive Director, Dr. Kymm Ballard, participated in the 2016 SFIA National Health Through Fitness Day advocacy event on March 16, 2016 in Washington DC to support funding for physical education and health education in schools.

The group had a great time on the Hill at National Health Through Fitness Day! It was a great success, with leaders from the sports, fitness, and PE industries working together in calling attention to the importance of daily PE for all school children.

You can be an advocate for physical education & health too! Check out these free resources to help support health and physical activity in your community.

Here are a few highlights from the 2016 SFIA National Health Through Fitness Day!


Advocating for Physical Education and Student Health

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of people from going on “The Hill” to advocate for quality physical education.  And, it seems to be working!  Advocacy has helped provide federal funding for physical education and other important public health initiatives.

Two major organizations advocating for physical education are the Sport and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) and AAHPERD (soon to be called SHAPE America).

The SFIA National Health through Fitness Day brings together approximately 150 leaders and 15-20 sports celebrities such as Herschel Walker, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Peyton Manning, and Tim Brown, to fight for the Carol M. White Physical Education Act (PEP).  Many physical educators and sporting goods companies have no idea how hard this group works to provide the only federal funding for physical education.  Until you have been in a back room with Gary Player and hear the level of conversations with a Speaker of the House, it is hard to imagine all of the work, money and time that goes into keeping PEP grants funded and safe.

Last week, SPARK was on the Hill with SFIA and the celebrities showcasing quality physical education with local DC Public School (a SPARK district) students.  We are proud to be sponsors and participants of this important advocacy day.  And, if you haven’t seen the video of Herschel Walker doing a SPARK dance with the students yet, click here. This video has had over 1,600 views on Facebook! You can view more photos of the event on the SPARK Facebook page.

SPARK is in DC again this week for National Speak Out! Day hosted by AAHPERD. National Speak Out! Day provides a venue that encourages all of its members to be strong advocates for the profession and for children.  AAHPERD members, sponsors, and associates storm the Hill to meet with their district or state representatives and share with them firsthand what is going on in their home towns.  They share personal experiences, unintended consequences, successes, and possible solutions.  Members advocate for PEP funding and other critical educational issues like educating the whole child.  Educating legislators on quality physical education is essential to making an impact on the national policy landscape.

We all have to do our part to help policy makers understand the benefits of quality, daily physical education taught by credentialed specialists.  We need YOU (teachers, administrators, parents, wellness professionals, etc.) to advocate on the Hill and/or your local governing bodies (School Board and State Legislators). Won’t you join us?

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Make them smart, before you make them mad: Share the full truth, even if some of it is bad.  You can advocate year-round by sharing issues on student health (obesity) in your district.  Share the facts and results from your testing, especially now with student growth evaluations.  You don’t always have to ask for something to advocate, as a matter of fact, true advocacy is not asking, but educating! We want decision makers to know the facts about your program and school district to help them make decisions.  This gains their trust.
  • Make friends before you need them: Provide success stories from your school and share them with your representatives.  Send letters about your school that showcase the positive things you are doing with students.  SPARK salutes all of these organizations and others who work hard on behalf of quality physical education programs and their teachers.
  • Support your friends: Help friends who are advocating on your behalf.  Especially AAHPERD and SFIA in their efforts on the national level, however, there are many others including state and local supporters you have and may not know.  Seek them out and support them.  Visit their websites and send letters.

SPARK is excited to actively support initiatives that support quality, daily physical education taught by credentialed specialists.  Here are a few relevant examples.

1. Recently, publicity around the First Lady’s Lets Move! initiative has sparked enough interest that Let’s Move! Active Schools was created.  This brought together organizations across sectors to increase physical activity in schools.  SPARK signed on and is a supporting organization for Lets Move! Active Schools. We are excited and motivated to have pledged at least 800 schools to sign up and increase physical activity during school!

2. SPARK attended both SFIA and AAHPERD days on the Hill again this year, and plan to go every year!  We sponsor and assist in demonstrations to showcase quality physical education.  We speak to Legislators about what quality physical education looks like and how important it is.  We provide success stories and call on them throughout the year through sign on letters and other advocacy efforts they provide.

3. SPARK feels so strongly about this, we created an Advocacy section on our website (under Resources).  This page will assist you by providing videos, tools, links, and ideas on how to advocate for physical education and wellness programs.  Please visit our advocacy page at

SPARK is much more than our researched-based programs.  SPARK is proud to invest money, staff and time to advocate for policies that support quality, daily physical education for all!

So, won’t you join us in advocating for physical education and student health?

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Update on the 2012 Carol M. White PEP Grants

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Latest news for the 2012 PEP Grants:

There will be no new PEP competition this year. Instead, the program will make new awards by funding down the slate of 2011 applicants. Therefore, no new or revised applications for PEP grants will be accepted in 2012. Applicants that did not win in 2011 may have the opportunity to receive an award in 2012, depending on the score from last year’s competition. Awards will be announced by 9/30/2012.

This information was received via email from the PEP Program Manager, Carlette Huntley.

Information for PEP Grant Applicants/Winners:
  1. New: Resource Guide for PEP Applicants/Winners Click Here
  2. SPARK alignment with national & state standards Click Here
  3. PECAT Reports for SPARK K-8 PE  Click Here
  4. HECAT Reports for our Health & Nutrition Partners (Healthy Lifestyle Choices and Healthy Kids Challenge) Click Here
  5. Denver Public Schools PEP Grant success story Click Here
  6. SPARK Assessment Tools Click Here

How to Qualify for a PEP Grant

Friday, April 29th, 2011

While any school or community-based program is qualified to apply for a Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant, only applicants who follow traditional grantwriting standards and address the goals and requirements of the PEP Grant program are likely to be awarded PEP Grant money.
PEP Grants are awarded to organizations to help them initiate, enhance, or expand physical education programs for K through 12 students.
• Programs must help students work toward meeting state standards for physical education requirements.

Outline a detailed program with clear goals. The program you plan to implement should be discussed extensively in your proposal. Proposals full of generalizations and vague program descriptions are not convincing, so try to be as specific as possible about the program you plan to implement. Discuss your reasons for implementing your program and the goals you plan to meet through that program.

Prove a need for the program you plan to implement. Your grant proposal will not be seriously considered if you don’t show that your school or organization has a real need for the program you’ll be using the grant money for. In order to show need, you should plan to cite reliable research sources and statistics. The statistics you use can range from local data taken by your own school, organization, or county to state and national statistics about children and physical activity.

Show a need for the grant money in order to implement your program. Once you’ve outlined your program and established need, you’ll want to discuss how the PEP Grant money you’re asking for is necessary to make it all happen. Discuss how your current program could be improved (including adding new programs) and how the PEP Grant money will make those improvements possible.

Address PEP requirements in your objectives section. Since PEP Grant money is intended for programs that help children meet state physical education requirements, you must discuss how the program you plan to improve or implement will help children work toward meeting those requirements. In order to do so, you’ll need to outline the physical education requirements specific to your state.

PEP Grant money is also meant to help students meet one or more additional initiatives:
• Helping students understand, improve, and maintain physical well-being
• Enhancing physical, mental, social, and emotional development through instruction in physical activities and motor skills
• Development of cognitive concepts about fitness and motor skills that support healthy lifestyles
• Education in healthy eating habits and nutrition
• Professional development for physical education teachers to stay current on physical education research, issues, trends, and programs
You should plan to discuss any of these initiatives that your proposed program is working toward and how your program will meet these goals.

Propose a detailed plan for evaluating the effectiveness of your program. An important part of winning grant money is being able to show the organization that funded your program that the money they gave you was used effectively. You must present a plan for program evaluation that will prove your program met it goals, and you will be expected to prove that you followed through on this plan.

An effective plan for evaluation will also impact your ability to receive future grant money. If you receive PEP Grant money one year but then fail to follow through on your program evaluations, it will be very difficult for your organization to receive grant money a second time because you will not have proved that their money helped meet the objectives it was intended for in the past.

Show how your program will provide lifelong benefits to students. Programs that help students create a dedication to fitness that lasts into adulthood are more likely to receive PEP Grants. The PEP Grant Program gives special attention to programs that will help decrease the cost of medical care related to inactivity, obesity, and poor nutrition – conditions that medically affect more adults than children, but that start in childhood. Your organization should plan to prove that its program has real, lasting benefits.

Include plans to implement a SPARK PE program in your proposal. Schools that chose to apply for PEP Grants in order to implement a SPARK program were more competitive in the grant winning process. SPARK programs have already been proven to work, are aligned with state and national physical education standards, and come with assessment programs to evaluate their success and effectiveness, addressing the key requirements necessary to win PEP Grant money.

10 Physical Education Grants for California School Districts

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

With budget cuts taking its toll on the education system in California, the physical education and health education programs are usually the first to go out the door. There are thousands of motivated individuals and groups with innovative ideas to keep physical education a priority on their campus but the public funds aren’t always available. Numerous grant programs exist to help schools get their initiatives off the ground and keep their kids healthy and fit. Here are ten grants California schools can apply for to help give them the financial jump start they need.

  1. Chargers Champions Grant Program – The San Diego Chargers are highly involved in their community, especially when it comes to promoting physical health and education. The grant is only available to San Diego County schools, so if your program is in the area and needs extra funding to get jump started, this is the perfect opportunity. The grant is open to both private and public schools, and a Chargers player will make an appearance at the official opening of the project. 82 schools in San Diego have received grants in the past for programs ranging from SPARKS equipment to outdoor fitness trails and weight rooms.
    1. Award Amounts: Elementary School – $30,000, Middle School – $40,000, High School – $75,000
    2. Deadline: 2011 application deadline TBD
  2. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Grants Program – Kaiser Permanente is a leader in the development of our youth’s health and physical education and has an established grant program to help give low-income communities the extra financial help they need. Reducing obesity is one of their main concerns and supports both community health initiatives and low-income families through the grant.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  3. One by One Campaign for Children – Amway Corporation created this grant to help disadvantaged children to LIVE (basic needs), ACHIEVE (building potential), LEARN (education), and PLAY (having fun). The One by One Campaign has helped over 8 million children worldwide and continues to offer grants to help local communities and their kids.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  4. Helping Hand Fund – The All Stars Helping Kids organization offers grants for pre-k through 12th grade students in San Francisco and Los Angeles that promote academics, health and fitness, and life skills. The grants are for less costly programs that still need a helping hand financially. If you are looking for a little help to get the SPARKS gear and program onto your school, the Helping Hand Fund is a great way to get started.
    1. Award Amounts: $250-$3,500
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  5. Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant – Although not specific to California, the U.S. Department of Education has one of the most robust grant programs to help schools jump start their physical education initiatives. The K-12 grant program aims to help initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs. They award anything from an individual Boys and Girls Club to an entire school district.
    1. Award Amounts: $100,000-$600,000
    2. Deadline: 2011 application deadline TBD
  6. Small Grant Program in Southern California – The Weingart Foundation created a small grant program to address a wide range of needs in Southern California. The focus of these grants is on small community-based organizations and large institutions serving the local area. Grants are awarded to groups focused on health, human services, and education. The requirements are fairly broad, making the grant a perfect opportunity for k-12 schools to gain financial support for their Physical Education projects. Highest priority is given to organizations addressing issues in economically disadvantaged and underserved communities.
    1. Award Amount: $1,000-$25,000
    2. Deadline: April 20, 2011
  7. Responsive Grants Program – The Sierra Health Foundation created the Responsive Grants Program to support projects improving health and quality of people living in North-Inland California. At least 30% of the grants will be awarded to rural areas and the rest will be mixed between urban and rural organizations in their 26 county funding region. With $1 million in grants available this year, the Responsive Grants Program could be a great jump start for schools in low-income communities looking to improve their Physical Education programs.
    1. Award Amounts: Up to $25,000
    2. Deadline: June 27, 2011
  8. The Phyllis Blatz Promising Professional Scholarship – The CAHPRED Foundation created a small grant and scholarship program to help improve the opportunities for female physical education teachers and female coaches in public education. The foundation also offers several awards recognizing top physical education programs, students, and teachers. If you or someone you know are looking for the extra help to become a female physical education teacher or coach in California, send in an application to the CAHPRED Foundation.
    1. Award Amounts: $500
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  9. Cheney Foundation Grants – The Bob B. Cheney Foundation is available to private, non-profit organizations in California, Oregon, and Washington. This grant is a good choice for private schools interested in creating an innovative health and physical education program. The foundation awards grants to a large variety of projects, but they mostly want to see how the project will impact the community in an innovative way.
    1. Award Amounts: $10,000
    2. Deadline: Rolling
  10. Healthy Generation Grants: Signature Program – The WellPoint Foundation & Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association created the Healthy Generation Grants to help improve the lives and health of people in their communities. Their goal is to reduce health care costs by investing in programs that help in preventative health care, such as health and physical education initiatives that have a specific goal of reducing the body mass index (BMI) of a target population.
    1. Award Amounts: Vary
    2. Deadline: May 13, 2011 and September 2, 2011

Fueling Student Success with Food and Fitness

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Brain breaks for better focus and concentration…

Healthy eating messages sprinkled throughout the school hallways, cafeteria, and classrooms…

Nutrition education woven into PE and core curriculum K-12…

Where is this happening? Check out West Orange, New Jersey school district!

“Teaching our students to maintain a healthy balance with eating and exercise is our top priority. The SPARK program is helping provide the tools and training to achieve this goal”, shared Corinn Giaquinto, Health and Physical Education instructor, Thomas Edison Middle School, West Orange, New Jersey.

Hats off to Thomas A. Edison Middle School and their entire school district in West Orange. The district has been using SPARK in their physical education department for some time and recently received a grant from Mountainside Health Foundation to fuel student success by adding nutrition education.

Vickie L. James, Registered Dietitian and Director of Healthy Kids Challenge (HKC), the exclusive nutrition education partner for SPARK, was the trainer for the West Orange training, the first ever SPARK and HKC nutrition education training.

“From classroom to PE to wellness council members K-12, the representation and enthusiasm shown at the workshop tells me the commitment this district has to student wellbeing. They truly understand the strategy of using good nutrition and physical activity to create a culture of health in the schools that can do nothing short of fueling student success. This was the first of many great moments down the road for West Orange Schools.”

If your school district is ready to accelerate student achievement by combining physical activity and nutrition education, contact SPARK today. Full day SPARK/HKC nutrition education trainings as well as a new nutrition curriculum in three grade ranges, K-2, 3-5, and 6-8 all are available through SPARK.  Healthy Kids Challenge trainings are tailored to meet school needs for successful implementation of realistic wellness policies, school improvement plans, and TEAM Nutrition guidelines. And SPARK/HKC help you achieve the required criteria for the HealthierUS School Challenge program.

The HKC curriculum, Balance My Day, was developed to align with all HECAT (Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool) standards for nutrition education. This is a new requirement for PEP grant awardees and you won’t find many nutrition education programs that address it.

Stay tuned for exciting happenings and updates from West Orange schools! SPARK and HKC wish them well in their commitment to student health!

Top 10 Reasons to Use PECAT with PEP Grants

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The purpose of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) provides grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The priority is the initiation, expansion, and improvement of physical education programs (which may include after-school programs) in order to make progress toward meeting State standards for physical education for kindergarten through 12th grade students by (1) providing equipment and support to enable students to participate actively in physical education activities; and (2) providing funds for staff and teacher training and education.

So how can you maximize your PEP dollars to assure you are spending money on the PEP grant priorities?  In order to provide equipment, support and training, one needs to have a program of study or curriculum.  The curriculum will drive equipment, training and support.

The Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT) was specifically designed by CDC to help school districts conduct a clear, complete, and consistent analysis of physical education curricula. PECAT results can help school districts enhance, develop, or select appropriate and effective physical education curricula for delivering high-quality physical education in schools including equipment, training and support.

The PECAT is based on the NASPE national standards for physical education and includes an overview of high-quality physical education, information about physical education curricula, tools to assess a curriculum, and resources for developing a curriculum improvement plan. The PECAT can assist in assessing how closely the written curricula align with national standards for high-quality physical education programs.

Here are the top 10 reasons PECAT takes the mystery out of deciding on quality curriculum for physical education as it relates to the PEP grants. Utilizing the PECAT to determine your needs can strengthen the case for your PEP grant.

  1. Fitness education and assessment: PECAT provides guidance to help make clear decisions about your program and what your needs may be in the area of curriculum and assessment.
  2. Motor Skill and Physical Activity: PECAT helps to provide a methodical review of curricula instruction in a variety of motor skills and physical activities to determine an appropriate and research based curricula program to purchase for PEP funding.
  3. Cognitive Concepts: The PECAT will help determine the development and instruction in, cognitive concepts that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle within a curricula program.
  4. Social Concepts: Opportunities to develop positive social and cooperative skills through physical activity participation is a priority for PEP.  The PECAT can assist in evaluation of curricula for the PEP grant funding.
  5. Nutrition: One priority for PEP funding is instruction in healthy eating habits and good nutrition.  PECAT and HECAT both can assist in documented evidence in this category.
  6. Professional development: PEP encourages the opportunity for growth.  Professional development is a key role and the PECAT can assist in determining the feasibility of a curriculum by including training.
  7. Affordable: Money is scares and should be maximized when received.  PECAT has a section in the beginning to help determine if curricula is affordable and appropriate for your school/district.
  8. Grade Group Specific:  PECAT helps takes the guesswork out of age appropriateness.  Content and skills are specific for each grade group, pre-K-2; 3-5; 6-8; and 9-12.
  9. Assurance: The concepts, sub-skills and skill examples were developed through a rigorous CDC process guided by research evidence and expert opinion.
  10. Change Facilitator: PEP recipients are to identify research based programs that can effect change (improvement).  PECAT identifies strengths and weaknesses for change which improve physical education or after school programs, including the research behind the curricula.

Utilizing the PECAT as a methodical process to establish need for curriculum, training and equipment will strengthen you PEP grant and your PEP grant evaluation.  SPARK has been evaluated with PECAT and is not only a research and outcomes based program by its own merit but the PECAT scores show SPARK is also a quality physical education curriculum. Click Here to see the PECAT scores for each SPARK Physical Education program.

Integrating Technology: Authentic Assessment in Physical Education

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

How do you assess your students?  Do you measure effort by their attendance, participation, behavior, or whether or not they dress out?  Why not use assessment tools that accurately measure student involvement and physical activity levels?

Using technology in physical education can be a powerful motivational and evaluative tool.  Don’t miss our upcoming webinar “Integrating Technology: Authentic Assessment in Physical Education” if you want to learn how to incorporate authentic assessment using pedometers, heart rate monitors and iPads to measure student progress.

Attendees will learn:

  • Benefits of using technology in physical education
  • Examples of technology currently being used in schools
  • Sample assessments for measuring student progress
  • Where to look for funding to add technology to your program

When: Wednesday, October 13th at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern

Who: Grades PreK-12 teachers and administrators, PE specialists, after school and early childhood teachers and staff

Duration: 45 minutes

Cost: Free!

Registration: Click Here to register

Joining the 2010 PEP Squad!

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Great news for all of us in the good ole’ U.S.A. this week. No, the oil is still leaking; Democrats and Republicans continue to argue; there is no peace in the Middle East. But if you’re someone who cares about healthy kids, you’re smiling from ear to ear. The 2010 PEP Grants were released!

These federal monies are available to help schools improve their physical education, and/or after school, and/or nutrition programs. You see the pattern – countering childhood obesity by increasing activity opportunities and empowering kids to make good food choices. The idea is prevention, and you know what they say about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? Rings true here. The cost of treating obesity related illnesses makes up a large percentage of our healthcare budget. If we can get ahead of the game by investing dollars now to prevent diseases from occurring later, we ALL benefit.

If you know a school or district that might like new curriculum materials, teacher training, equipment and more, won’t you encourage them to visit the pep grant information page and search for the information they need to apply? Submissions are due July 19th so there is no time to waste!

SPARK is proud to have already worked with more than 100 PEP winners to date! Maybe you or someone at a school you know is next? Then you can join the PEP squad and shout a cheer for quality, evidence-based physical education for every child!