Our Mission

SPARK is dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating research-based programs that promote lifelong wellness. SPARK strives to improve the health of children and adolescents by disseminating evidence-based physical activity and nutrition programs that provide curriculum, staff development, follow-up support, and equipment to teachers of Pre-K through 12th grade students. SPARK is committed to providing outstanding customer satisfaction through timely delivery and exceptional service. SPARK believes in fostering a positive working environment that values professional growth, upward mobility, and opportunities for people to work together toward common goals.


The focus of SPARK is the development of healthy lifestyles, motor skills, movement knowledge, and social & personal skills.

It is expected that SPARK Physical Education/Physical Activity students will:

  • Enjoy and seek out physical activity.
  • Develop and maintain acceptable levels of physical fitness.
  • Develop a variety of basic movement and manipulative skills so they will experience success and feel comfortable during present and future physical activity pursuits.
  • Develop the ability to get along with others in movement environments (e.g., share space and equipment, employ the “golden rule” of competition: be a good sport and demonstrate cooperative behavior).

Rationale for SPARK Objectives

Why help children develop and maintain acceptable levels of physical fitness?

Individuals who are physically fit and who engage in physical activity on a regular basis generally:

A. Enjoy better health

B. Have more energy to devote to activities of daily life

C. Learn physical skills easier and are more successful at them, and thus have greater opportunities for social interaction and personal meaning through physical activity and sport

Why help children develop a variety of basic movement and manipulative skills that are necessary to enjoy success (feel comfortable) in physical activity settings?

Individuals who are skilled and enjoy success in movement activities are more likely to:

A. Have a wide choice of activities to pursue for exercise and personal enjoyment

B. Lead active lives and maintain acceptable levels of fitness

C. Have access to active situations for social interaction and personal meaning that these situations bring about

Why help children develop the ability to get along with others in a movement environment?

Individuals who are able to get along with others in an active environment are more likely to:

A. Have reasons, other than physical ones, for active participation

B. Enjoy participating

C. Be invited to participate

D. Make active participation enjoyable for others

Why help children enjoy and seek out physical activity?

Individuals who enjoy physical activity are more likely to be active and thus:

A. Develop and maintain acceptable levels of fitness

B. Develop and maintain their physical skills

C. Have increased opportunities for social interaction through movement experiences

D. Have increased opportunities for experiencing personal meaning through being physically active

10 Things to Know about SPARK

10. SPARK has been dedicated to creating, implementing and evaluating programs to improve the health of children since 1989.

9. SPARK intellectual property, trademarks and copyrights remain with San Diego State University Research Foundation. SPARK’s original principals insist their benevolent mission (to improve the health of children) drives the dissemination effort.

8. While intellectual property, trademarks and copyrights remain with SDSU, SPARK has recently partnered with GOPHER to be the exclusive provider of SPARK curriculum, training and equipment. GOPHER was chosen during a national search in late 2018 and the new partnership formalized in early 2019. GOPHER is committed to providing the quality service and personalized touch that all SPARK customers expect.

7. SPARK has been proven to work AND last. Over 50 publications have been written and reviewed to support this claim. SPARK is the ONLY National Institutes of Health researched program that positively effects ALL of these student outcomes: Activity levels in class and away from school, physical fitness, sport skills, enjoyment of PE, and academic achievement. Teachers improve their quantity and quality of instruction, and the positive effects of SPARK sustain and institutionalize.

6. SPARK operates in multiple content areas: Physical Education in K-12 schools, Physical Activity and Recess for elementary schools, After School Programs, and Early Childhood/Preschool. SPARK is the ONLY program that can show scope and sequence for Pre-K through 12th grade and alignment with National PE standards.

5. SPARK offers many different research-based programs: Four in Physical Education (Grades K-2, 3-6, 6-8 and 9-12), one Classroom Activity and Recess (SPARKabc’s – Activity Break Choices), one After School and one Early Childhood.

4. SPARK programs provide a coordinated package of curriculum (the “what to teach”), training (the “how to teach it”), content-matched equipment (the “tools you need to teach”), and extensive follow up support because programs must institutionalize to be successful and cost effective.

3. SPARK has been honored as an Exemplary Program of the U.S. Department of Education, cited in the Surgeon General’s Report as a “School-based solution to our nation’s healthcare crisis,” earned a “Governor’s Commendation,” and in 2005, was awarded “Gold” (highest ranking) for their elementary and middle school PE programs in an independent study commissioned by the Cooper Institute. SPARK is the ONLY program to earn “PE Gold” for grades K-8.

2. SPARK has trained teachers representing more than 100,000 schools worldwide and facilitated or partnered in more than 20 research studies and special projects since 1989. Annually, SPARK conducts contracted workshops and presents at professional conferences. The compilation of these efforts results in more than 20,000 teachers trained and more than 1 million students effected each and every year!

1. SPARK seeks to make your experience terrific. Whether a large project or small, SPARK’s goal is to exceed expectations by providing effective resources, extensive support, and outstanding service.