Parents In Florida Say Cutting Recess in Schools Should Not Be An Option



Every child deserves the right to play and be healthy. Yet many times when the school day gets busy, recess is the first thing to go. In light of recent cuts to recess, a group of parents in Orange County, Florida have now gained national attention for standing up for their children's right to recess. According to a news story from Today.com at least twenty-three elementary schools in Orange County have cut back on or even cancelled recess. "They have become machines that produce data as opposed to children,'' Amy Narvaez, a mother of two, told TODAY. A Think Progress blog reports that prior to bringing the matter before the school board parents collected over 1,200 signatures as part of a petition. At the meeting they also cited research on the benefits of having between ...

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Chicago Schools Bring Daily P.E. (and Recess and in-Class Activity) to Students



Students at Chicago Public Schools weren’t getting enough physical activity and time spent in P.E., so district officials created a new department solely to improve the health and wellness of students. The department’s new chief health officer led the enactment of three new health policies and the rollout of a plan to bring at least 30 minutes of daily P.E. to all students. Soon students in grades K-8 will be getting a minimum of 150 minutes of P.E. a week, and all high school students will be required to take P.E. every semester. EMERGENCE Awareness: As the third-largest school district in the nation, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are responsible for ensuring a healthy learning environment for its diverse student body (45% Hispanic and 39% black). For many years, the district ...

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Georgia SHAPE Partners With Playworks To Improve Recess



Georgia Shape, a statewide initiative which seeks to bring an additional 30 minutes of physical activity to every elementary school in Georgia has partnered with the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and Playworks, an organization that works to improve the quality of recess by creating a bully-free zone. Through the partnership, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner Georgia Department of Public Health, said in a Crossroads news article, that the aim would be to  make recess safer by providing support and training to staff for delivering the Playworks curriculum to at least 35,000 students at elementary schools across the state. To support this effort and to make recess more inclusive,  the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation provided an additional $750,000 in grant funds towards the ...

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Texas Education Agency Approves SPARK Coordinated School Health Curriculum



SPARK's Coordinated School Health (CSH) program is now being used by Texas schools thanks to a recent action by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to approve the curriculum for use among students in grades K-8. Texas is now the third state to approve the curriculum as part of a comprehensive student health program, which provides students with physical education, physical activity, health education, and nutrition education in order to counter childhood obesity. In a Yahoo news article, Danielle Housley, MPH Healthy Start Project Facilitator at Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas said: "The SPARK PE Curriculum has become an essential piece of our elementary physical education programs." Educators from other school districts also had positive things to say ...

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National Non-profit Urges Families to Examine the State of Recess At Schools



Physical activity and recess are both important to a child's development and growth, but many times students aren't provided with enough recess time at school. This is especially true for Latino students. According to a Salud America! research brief, schools with predominantly Latino students were were less likely to receive at least 20 minutes of recess compared to schools with primarily White students. Playworks, a national non-profit that helps schools transform the recess experience for students, is working to help change that. They are asking parents to learn more about the state of recess at their child's local school. All kids should be getting at least an hour of physical activity everyday and part of that should include 20 minutes of recess time. Unfortunately many ...

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School Breakfast Grants from AFHK Available in August 2014



Action for Healthy Kids announces new grants available till August 31, 2014 for those seeking assistance in providing healthy breakfasts for student: Through partners CSX Transportation, Kellogg Company, Kellogg’s Company Fund, and the Walmart Foundation, Action for Healthy Kids is pleased to release its School Grants for Healthy Kids opportunities for the 2014-2015 school year.  Around 1,000 schools will be awarded funds ranging from $500 to $5,000 to support school breakfast and physical activity programs. Funded schools will also receive expertise and people power to help implement a successful project that leads to sustainable change. Award amounts will be based on building enrollment, project type, potential impact, and a school’s ability to mobilize parents and ...

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New Mexico Adopts “Smarter Snacks” in Schools



Recently the New Mexico Student Nutrition Bureau went above and beyond the new standards set by the USDA's Smart Snacks regulations. The New Mexico standards will allow only nuts, seeds, yogurt, cheese and fresh fruit to be sold during the school day from vending machines in middle and high schools, with other snacks not available until 30 minutes after the school day ends. They are also updating their vending standards, encouraging elementary schools to have only water, low-fat/fat-free milk, or soy milk in their machines. Middle and High Schools have to meet strict size and calorie standards for 100% fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and flavored waters. Fundraisers are also addressed in New Mexico's new standards, allowing groups to do only one hour of fundraising during the ...

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CDC Report: 2014 State Indicator on Physical Activity



This report highlights how levels of physical activity differ by state. It also points out how states compare to each other in regards to environmental and policy strategies used to encourage physical activity. Things like: policy guidance on shared use agreements at the state level; having access to parks, recreation centers, and sidewalks living within 1/2 mile of a park; increasing time spent doing moderate-vigorous physical activity; requiring recess; and getting kids to walk and bike to school are all recommended as ways to increase levels of physical activity. Access the full report ...

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New Legislation: Summer Meals Act



The Summer Nutrition Programs ensure that low-income children have access to healthy food throughout the summer. Most Summer Nutrition Programs occur in tandem with educational and enrichment programs that keep children learning, engaged, and safe during the summer months.  The Summer Meals Act hopes to have a better integration of summer education and meals in programs that provide summer enrichment, as well as improve nutrition in rural, under-served, hard to reach areas throughout the US. You can find out more information on the legislation ...

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