SPARK Physical Education Programs

April 14, 2010 12:14 ET

DC Public School District Implements Spark™ Physical Education Program to Fight Childhood Obesity

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) - The District of Columbia Public Schools has launched a full-court press to improve the physical fitness and long-term health for all of its students. In support of its recently passed Healthy Schools Act, the district has adopted the SPARK™ Physical Education program. SPARK training for the district's more than 150 PE teachers is currently underway, with curriculum, teacher training, and equipment expected to be provided to all 123 K-12 schools by the end of the 2010-11 school year. 

"Healthy students are better learners, and we're confident that by improving their health and fitness, we can improve the success of our academic-focused reform efforts," said Heather Holaday, Program Manager for the District of Columbia Public Schools, which is nationally recognized for its educational reform initiatives. "The SPARK program enables us to raise the energy level and alertness of our students, which helps prepare them to learn. The curriculum gives us new tools and research-proven techniques to ensure our physical education approaches and messaging are consistent, coordinated and effective across all of our schools." 

More than 45 research publications have validated the SPARK program's effectiveness, and it is the only National Institute of Health-researched program that has been determined to positively affect youth activity levels, fitness, sport skills, enjoyment, and academic achievement. SPARK programs combine healthy lifestyle messaging and take-home materials with classroom physical activities that emphasize student inclusion to ensure everyone, regardless of athletic ability, experiences success. Through a focus on personal fitness and lifetime sports, the SPARK PE curriculum downplays the competition-based model and includes activities that are more inclusive, active, and fun than traditional PE classes.

The district funded its purchase through a Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant, a U.S. Department of Education initiative designed to expand or enhance pre-K through 12 physical education programs. 

About SPARK:

SPARK is a research-based organization that disseminates Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Each SPARK program provides a coordinated package of curriculum, teacher training, equipment and follow-up support.

Since 1989, SPARK has provided programs to over 100,000 teachers, representing many thousands of schools, organizations and agencies worldwide. For more information visit, email or call 1-800-SPARKPE.