Beaverton School District in Oregon has launched a new initiative to keep kids’ brains and bodies active during the day.
Oregon Kids Move with Heart is a new initiative in Beaverton, Oregon that kicked off August 31, 2015. The goal is to help kids be more physically active throughout the day at school. Through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Heart Association has partnered with the Beaverton School District to increase physical education and activity opportunities for K-8 students throughout the school day during the 2015-2016 school year. The district's commitment to the health of their students aligns with the mission of the American Heart Association, prompting the recent partnership.
As stated in The Oregonian, the purpose of the program is to create a culture of physical activity. Exercise kick-starts students’ brains and increases blood flow and energy, and is a way to prepare for the upcoming physical education mandate taking effect in 2017. This mandate will require that K-5 students receive physical education 150 minutes per week and students in grades 6-8 receive 225 minutes per week. At least 50 percent of the physical education class time is to be actual physical activity with as much time as possible spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Schools continuously face challenges to provide quality physical education to their students, and one of these challenges is that many schools lack the necessary facilities. Understanding this challenge, the Beaverton School District created the Active Students Task Force to work towards being compliant with the upcoming law. Through this Task Force, five pilot schools were identified – three elementary and two middle. According to the Times, “The idea behind the pilot project is that students who are more active are not only physically healthier, but also are more focused on academics, according to research.” The article also said, “The elementary schools will begin each school day with 10 minutes of heart-pounding activity, cycle through physical education sessions and build activity into academic lessons called “Brain Boosts.” The middle schools will return to daily physical education classes.”
In order to prepare teachers and educators, professional development workshops were held the week prior to the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year to get teachers ready to incorporate movement throughout the school day. The Oregon Kids Move with Heart Regional Campaign Manager worked closely with the Beaverton School District Physical Education Teacher on Special Assignment (PE TOSA) to coordinate these professional development workshops.
Scott Williams, a physical educator from Charlottesville, Virginia, and Alex O’Brien of Focused Fitness, were brought in by Oregon Kids Move with Heart to share their expertise with the Beaverton educators. “Williams had classroom teachers joyously dancing and laughing around the room, raving about how much their students will enjoy dancing in class,” said Brittany Badicke, a Regional Campaign Manager of the ANCHOR Partnership Program. The ANCHOR Partnerships Program – Accelerated National Community Health Outcomes through Reinforcing Partnerships – is funded under the CDC’s National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention initiative. In Oregon, ANCHOR is focused on obesity prevention through physical education and activity initiatives. “O’Brien had both classroom and PE teachers learning math an English through fitness games, leading to a teacher commenting that the kids will be having so much fun, they won’t realize they’re learning,” said Badicke.
To learn more about the new initiative, watch the Fox 12 Oregon story, search with hashtags #ORKidsMoveWithHeart or #BSDBrainBoost, and visit Oregon Kids Move with Heart’s website.