PE Teachers Bring 60 Minutes of Daily Activity to Students Before or After School


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Many Latino students don’t meet daily recommendations of physical activity because they lack access to quality activity opportunities during school and they are burdened by barriers to access quality activity opportunities after school, such as safety, availability and cost. Kids that don’t meet daily recommendations of physical activity are at increased risk for obesity and other adverse health outcomes. Two PE teachers in Edmonds School District in Washington developed a before/after school program as well as a recess program to help kids reach 60 minutes of recommended daily activity on most days of the week. They developed these programs to be implemented in schools to reduce accessibility barriers associated with safety, availability and cost.


Awareness: Jennifer Hershey and Jennifer McCloughan, physical education (PE) teachers at Edmonds School District in Washington, saw a decrease in physical activity in their students, both at school and at home, similar to the inactivity and obesity trends occurring across the nation.

They were familiar with national childhood obesity trends and followed Weight of the Nation and Michelle Obama’s physical activity initiatives. Beyond nationwide indicators of the obesity crisis, there weren’t any specific indicators that physical inactivity was a problem unique to their community. It was a problem everywhere.

“We knew [students] weren’t getting the adequate amount of time in PE, and they were going home and sitting in front of the TV,” McCloughan said.

Learn: Over the years, Edmonds School District had to make cuts to time dedicated to PE. This meant that many students were not getting 60 minutes of physical activity per day as recommended.

Schools in Edmonds School District serve a diverse population, ranging from 2.7% living in poverty to 21.05% living in poverty, and from 0.65% Hispanic to 22.75% Hispanic. At Mountlake Terrace Elementary, there are 27 different languages spoken by students.

Jenni McClougan and three Edmonds School District students. (Source):Jenni McCloughan
Jenni McClougan and three Edmonds School District students. (Source):Jenni McCloughan

McCloughan, who teaches at the more socioeconomically advantaged Maplewood School, and Hershey, who teaches at the more socioeconomically disadvantaged Mountlake Terrace School, agreed that both categories of students suffered from physical inactivity, which is influenced by many individual, social and environmental factors.

“Weight, health, family issues or their family circumstances don’t allow them to participate in other activities outside of school,” McCloughan said.

With more than 20 years of experience as PE teachers, Hershey and McCloughan knew physical activity is critical to reducing obesity and behavioral problems, and boosting academic performance.

But they wondered how schools could help students get healthier and more active.

Frame the Issue: Hershey and McCloughan knew they wanted to do something.

“We know that nutrition and physical activity go hand in hand, but for us, we couldn’t wrap our brains around how to tackle the nutrition piece at that time,” Hershey said.

They stuck with their PE experience and decided on what they thought was the quickest, most practical solution: develop a free structure recreational program before or after school to get students active for 60 minutes a day.

“More activity time for the kids. That’s what we wanted. Every student needs to be getting in 60 minutes,” McCloughan said.


Education: In 2010, Hershey and McCloughan found out about available funding for healthy living and prevention through the South Snohomish County Health Commission, known as Verdant.

They applied and received funding. However, in order to apply for the grant they had to develop the program itself, obtain approval from the school district and establish a one-year pilot of the program.

First order of business for them: develop the program itself.

Hershey and McCloughan began “dreaming high in the sky” and pulling the best practices from 20 years of experience as PE teachers and other Playworks and Peaceful Playground models, they said.

They developed a program to keep kids active for 60 full minutes and called it Move 60.

Move 60Move 60 features four days of themes, for grades 2-6, with a variety of activities and games to ensure that elementary students meet daily physical activity recommendations and have fun doing it:
• Monday – Running Club
• Tuesday –Team Sports and Games
• Wednesday – Jump Rope Club
• Thursday – Alternative and Individual Sports and Activities

They aim to fight childhood obesity, improve student health issues, offer an opportunity to play sports, and to provide the physical, social, and emotional benefits of extra exercise to students.

Mobilization: The second order of business for them: obtain approval from the school district.

Hershey and McCloughan wanted to reach all children across the 23 elementary schools in Edmonds school district. In addition to requesting approval, they also wanted the cooperation of the superintendent, assistant superintendents and the school board.

The third order of business for them: establish a one-year pilot program.

With Move 60 all planned out, Hershey and McCloughan began to seek local elementary schools that would be interested in piloting the program.

They looked at three criteria when they strategically chose schools: 1) both high- and low-income schools; 2) schools in each quadrant of the district; and 3) the anticipated willingness of the principals and PE teachers.

“We looked at principals to see if they would be someone that would try something new,” Hershey said.

They selected eight schools and invited the principals to a meeting to share their Move 60 program proposal.

They knew they were on the right track because none of the principals said no.

Douglas Johnson, the principal at Mountlake Terrace Elementary (23.4% Hispanic), was their biggest champion from the start and expressed a willingness to “jump in whole heartedly,” Hershey said.

Johnson, who cycles to work and knows the benefits physical activity can have, loved their idea.

“I’m still wearing my bike jersey, so I’m pretty much bought in,” Johnson joked.

Debate: Although schools have increasingly become central locations to provide resources to kids and families, physical activity resources had been scarce before and after school in Washington.

Local residents hadn’t envisioned the school as a physical activity resource.

“It was such an out of the box kind of idea that nobody though the school would be able to do this kind of thing or that it would be the role of the school,” Johnson said. “It is something people wished they had, but they didn’t know could happen.”

However, due to limited resources, Move 60 wasn’t sure how to provide a program for all students and reduce transportation barriers for all parents.


Activation: Hershey and McCloughan, with help from school leaders like Johnson, spread the word about Move 60 to school staff, parents and community members, who soon bought into it as a solution to the complex social, behavioral and environmental problem of physical inactivity.

Move 60 would work with principals and school staff to determine program length, scheduling (before or after school), spacing and staffing.

Move 60 students playing hockey at Lynndale Elementary school. (Source):Jenni McCloughan
Move 60 students playing hockey at Lynndale Elementary school. (Source):Jenni McCloughan

Hershey and McCloughan wanted Move 60 instructors to be school employees, because they are already in the building, which is convenient, and they know the kids. Thus, principals would identify people or ask staff who might be interested in implementing the program. They worked with all departments of the school district, such as HR, transportation, and assessment.

Frame policy: Move 60 is a structured recreational program that would keep kids active the full 60 minutes and remain focused on fitness, rather than an educational program.

“It is recreational, getting kids busy, active, and exercising. Not educational in the sense that, you know, we don’t have standards or anything, McCloughan said.

They decided on three 10 week sessions per year that would serve 50 students per session.

“There is nothing hang-out about the program. It is very focused. Kids are all involved in high fitness building games and activities,” Hershey said.

Change: Move 60 began piloting the physical activity program in eight local elementary schools during the 2010-2011 school year.

The purpose was to provide free physical activity programs in schools to alleviate barriers related to availability, transportation and cost, and to increase kid’s participation in daily physical activity.


Move 60 students stretching during the March Mile event. (Source):Jenni McCloughan
Move 60 students stretching during the March Mile event. (Source):Jenni McCloughan

Implementation Since the first year pilot of Move 60 in eight schools, the school district has implemented the program in all 23 elementary schools in the school district.

“The program was so popular and so successful that it just grew,” Hershey said.

Through Verdant funding, Hershey and McCloughan are full-time Move 60 employees. They go out and visit all of the schools; train instructors; assist with scheduling; and support school staff. They correspond with instructors and have periodic training sessions to share what works and what doesn’t work.

The program is very structured so school staffers (e.g., teachers, PE teacher, principal, nurse, etc.) don’t have to spend a lot of time planning, and students know what is expected of them. However, there is some flexibility for teachers to do other activities if they want, like a warm-up game that involves a trending sport.

“Instructors know exactly what they are doing that day,” McCloughan said. “It is designed so that when the students come in, they do a little warmup and they know exactly what the expectation is.”

Move 60 equipment goes to and stays at each school, which means the program/school staffer is able to use that equipment for all students throughout the year.

Prior to the first session, school staff will identify “target” students – those with weight concerns, health issues, or lack of access to recreational opportunities. Those students will be given priority registration. Each session, students must re-register and target students will be able to re-enroll. Some parents specifically put their kids in Move 60 because they feel their child needed more activity or because they had some health concerns regarding their weight or health issues.

Maria Elena, the parent of two Edmonds School District students, hears the excitement in her kid’s voices when they talk about the Move 60 activities they did that day. She has always taught her children to eat healthy and stay physically active, and both of her children participate in multiple sports.

She said that Move 60 is motivational for kids because it supports and enhances the healthy lessons that she has already taught her kids and because it gives them new interests. For example, in addition to the regular daily theme curriculum, Move 60 sometimes provides a weekly theme to focus on a new game or activity to build hype among students.

“They get very excited about that,” Elena said of her son, Leonardo, and his friends.

Move 60 tracks progress with outcome and process evaluation surveys. They assess students throughout the 10-week sessions on their height, weight, cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength. They also survey parents and instructors to improve Move 60.

Equity: Physical inactivity is an across the board problem in Edmonds School District; however, some students are disproportionately burdened by social and environmental barriers. These barriers are alleviated when free physical activity is made available in a safe and central location, Hershey and McCloughan said.

“It is helpful for parents who cannot afford to add one more expense,” Maria Elena said.

Additionally, Move 60 flyers and forms are offered in Spanish, and school buses provide transportation for Move 60 students at nine of the most disadvantaged schools, which are defined by poverty and free and reduced lunch. Typically poverty, diversity and English language learner populations almost go hand in hand, Johnson said.

“School buses eliminate the hurdle of families trying to pick their kids up an hour after school,” Johnson said.

The school identifies equity as one of its main strategic directions.

“Equity encompasses every aspect of the school district, business and academic,” Hershey said.

Inequity in opportunities and disparities in achievement gaps across the district have catalyzed multiple grassroots and community efforts in addition to Move 60.

Students at the 2nd annual Health and Wellness Expo Fun Run at Edmonds Stadium. (Source):Jenni McCloughan
Students at the 2nd annual Health and Wellness Expo Fun Run at Edmonds Stadium. (Source):Jenni McCloughan

Sustainability: Both before and after Move 60, Hershey, McCloughan and Johnson have supported and developed numerous physical activity initiatives across their community. They recognize the importance of having multiple programs interwoven and overlapping to: (1) create a culture of activity to extend beyond the school into family and home situations; and (2) serve as a bridge for fitness and activity between the school and the community.

For example, they support the city of Edmonds in coordinating annual health and wellness expos; in providing all fifth-graders with a Sqord fitness tracker to track activity and fitness points throughout the school year; and in developing community and school pedestrian and cycling trails.

In 2008, Johnson and Hershey applied for and received a state grant to build a sidewalk in their community. They also bought four trailers full of bikes to offer bike education in every elementary and middle school. Mountlake Terrace Elementary even built their own trails and have their own BMX bikes to teach kids bike safety and bike skills and to allow kids to use them for fun and fitness. Safe, accessible, active modes of transportation help families participate more in physical activity.

This trio of physical activity champions even adapted Move 60 to a new obvious-yet-overlooked opportunity to increase students’ physical activity at school even more.


“The recess piece is a natural extension of Move 60, to encourage kids to be more active during the school day,” McCloughan said.

At recess there were a lot of kids sitting, chatting or walking around, and office referrals for misbehavior or bullying. That’s because many students didn’t have structured activities, or didn’t know the rules to different games and without some structure were unable to play them, Johnson said.

“What if we trained our recess teachers to be kind of like our move 60 instructors? What if they knew other games and they knew other ways to get kids involved?” Johnson wondered.

With support from Edmonds superintendent, Dr. Nick Brossoit and current Move 60 instructors, Hershey, McCloughan and Johnson trained para-educators and recess staff—and identified student leaders to be peer educators—for an adaptation of Move 60 during recess, called Move 60 Recess. Because Move 60 Recess doesn’t require additional school facilities or resources, individual schools are able to participate, according to Move 60 scheduling, without having to wait for school board approval or policy changes.

They piloted Move 60 Recess in six elementary schools in spring 2015 and received so much positive feedback that they are extending this program into 4 more schools in fall 2015 for a total of 10 elementary schools.

“Instead of bored and walking around they are engaged and having fun,” Johnson said.

Teachers noticed almost immediately that kids were more focused and successful in the lessons after recess, and there were fewer behavior issues on the playground and fewer office referrals.

“Increased enthusiasm plays into a lot of other things about their school success,” Hershey said.

The Move 60 Recess student peer educators have helped generate extra excitement and buzz about physical activity, not only because of the new games, but because older kids are stepping up.

“Older kids are helping younger kids play games. Kids are on the playground with much, much higher level of activity and fun and success,” Johnson said.

But they weren’t done.

What about teens?

Move 60 Teens is another natural extension of this program and is offered at Lynwood Recreation Center. Developed in 2013, it features theme days with a variety of teen-friendly nutrition and fitness activities for 7th and 8th grade students:
• Monday/Wednesday – Team XTreme
• Tuesday/Thursday – GOAL (Girls Only Athletics and Leadership)
• Friday – Snack Attack
Move 60 Teens also offers bus transportation from Edmonds School District two middle schools.

Could Move 60 work in pre-schools, too?

In 2012, Move 60 began to work with parents of preschool students to develop activities that they could do at home to help with gross motor skills and kindergarten readiness.

In all, Move 60 has been embraced by schools, students, and residents and has sustained funding through 2017.

Hershey, McCloughan and Johnson recount many success stories. Families are more active because their kids come home and share the activities they are doing; kids and families are losing weight because they are more active; and kids are focusing better on their school work.

Hershey, McCloughan and Johnson encourage all schools to develop similar physical activity programs. However, they realize that when they list all of the initiatives they have supported and developed over the years, it can appear overwhelming.

“For somebody else coming in, who has none of it, to them it was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, where do we start with this?’” Johnson said.

They want to remind schools and communities that creating a culture of health requires support and involvement from others.

“Not one person is doing all of it,” Hershey said. “There is a breadth of involvement across the school district, so it doesn’t feel quite that overwhelming at one particular school. Because it’s different people, it’s a little bit easier.”


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This success story was produced by Salud America! with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The stories are intended for educational and informative purposes. References to specific policymakers, individuals, schools, policies, or companies have been included solely to advance these purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation. Stories are based on and told by real community members and are the opinions and views of the individuals whose stories are told. Organization and activities described were not supported by Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and do not necessarily represent the views of Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program aims to educate researchers, decision-makers, community leaders, and the public in contributing toward healthier Latino communities and seeking environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic of Latino childhood obesity. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. For more information, visit

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of Latino parents support public funding for afterschool programs

This success story was produced by Salud America! with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The stories are intended for educational and informative purposes. References to specific policymakers, individuals, schools, policies, or companies have been included solely to advance these purposes and do not constitute an endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation. Stories are based on and told by real community members and are the opinions and views of the individuals whose stories are told. Organization and activities described were not supported by Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and do not necessarily represent the views of Salud America! or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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