To increase students’ moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the school day, both Adams School District 50 and Colorado Springs School District 11 in Westminster, CO and Colorado Springs, CO respectively, have implemented the SPARK Physical Education (PE) program for the 2012-2013 school year. Each district has received K-12 training, curriculum materials and equipment from SPARK™, provider of the world’s most-researched PE program.
“Some of our teachers use it dutifully,” said Jenny Rice, the PE Grant Coordinator at Colorado Springs D11. “The students really enjoy how they are learning skills while playing games and the teachers like it too because it is not the same activity day after day.”
SPARK is designed to be more inclusive, active and fun than traditional PE classes. SPARK lessons incorporate student-directed learning, differentiated instruction and sports education to motivate students to participate and develop a lifelong love of activity. SPARK has been proven to work with PE specialists, as well as classroom teachers, thus providing more opportunities for students to be physically active during the school day.
“Not only are our PE teachers reaping the benefits of using SPARK, our classroom teachers are using it to add physical movement to classroom instruction,” said Timothy Woodruff, a PE teacher and Grant Coordinator at Adams 50. “We were so impressed with the impact SPARK has had on our PE and academic programs that we invited local college students to attend our second round of customized training. We hope that exposing them to the SPARK program will inspire them and make them see the importance of quality PE.”
Both districts received funding for the SPARK curriculum through a statewide grant. Once the districts applied for and were awarded the three-year grant, they were required to analyze their current PE programs’ strengths and weaknesses in regards to the new national PE standards. Both districts found that the SPARK curriculum resolved most of their weaknesses because SPARK is specifically designed to meet these new standards.
"Research states that it is essential for students to develop the foundations for healthy lifestyles at an early age. By doing so, they have a better chance of maintaining those habits into adulthood. With the SPARK PE program, schools can begin building those foundations and impacting student lives,” said Paul Rosengard, SPARK's Executive Director.
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 curriculum materials, teacher training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. SPARK also helps educators find physical education grants. For more information on SPARK, visit http://www.sparkpe.org or email spark(at)sparkpe(dot)org or call 1-800-SPARK-PE.