$10,000 AWARDED TO FIVE CA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

SPARK and the CA Dept. of Public Health Team-Up to Increase Physical Activity among Youth

SAN DIEGO, CA; June 14, 2010 – While most California school budgets are being cut, five public elementary schools across the state are receiving some end-of-the-year help as winners of the “SPARKpower” grant program. Funded by the California Department of Public Health, five $10,000 grants were awarded allowing the schools to implement one of School Specialty SPARK’s research-based physical education programs.

The following schools were announced as winners: Cielo Vista Charter School, Palm Springs; John Muir Magnet School for Global Citizenship, San Diego; La Escuelita Elementary School, Oakland; Selma Avenue Elementary, Los Angeles; and Strauch Elementary School, Sacramento.

“SPARK is very grateful to the California Obesity Prevention Program at the California Department of Public Health for supporting the new SPARKpower grants.  We chose the word power because today’s data ARE powerful:  Healthy students are better learners,” says SPARK Executive Director Paul Rosengard. “Both organizations are committed to helping every California elementary school create an environment where children and their teachers move a lot more -- and make smart food choices both on and off campus.”

The winners of the SPARKpower grants each receive a SPARK Premium Program of choice (two full-days of on-site, "hands on" training for up to 30 staff members), SPARK curriculum and instructional materials, content-matched equipment, and a one-year membership to SPARKfamily.org for each teacher.

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.