Department of Defense Adopts New Physical Education Program for Schools Worldwide
San Diego, CA, August 20, 2013 — Don’t let the name fool you: the Department of Defense is taking the Offense in the fight against childhood obesity. During the past two years, Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) has been vetting quality Physical Education (PE) programs for potential adoption. The DoDEA issued a solicitation in June 2012 for curriculum materials for four PE courses – Comprehensive PE Grade Level K-8, Grades 9 – 12 Lifetime Sports, Personal Fitness Grade Level 9 – 12, and Grades 9 – 12 Physical Activity and Nutrition. After a lengthy research and review process, DoDEA recently announced that SPARK, provider of the world’s most researched and field-tested PE programs, was awarded the four contracts.
SPARK’s Executive Director Paul Rosengard comments, “It was wonderful news to learn DoDEA chose SPARK for all four PE adoptions. We’re honored and excited for the opportunity to work with hundreds of physical educators who serve tens of thousands of students and their parents around the world.”
SPARK, a public-health organization that began at San Diego State University, will be providing their research-based instructional materials for teachers, as well as online learning modules and webinars. SPARK will also provide layers of follow up support to ensure the program is effectively implemented and sustained in a variety of environments.
Katie Fenton, one of SPARK’s leads on the project adds, “SPARK has been shown in over 50 peer-reviewed articles to improve a variety of student health-related outcomes. Some of which include activity levels, fitness, motor and sport skills, and enjoyment of the PE experience. Additionally, students that spend more minutes in SPARK PE did as well or better on their standardized tests than students in control groups. The data show healthy students are better prepared to learn, and SPARK PE makes every minute impactful on a child’s health.”
Aaron Hart, who wrote much of the SPARK High School program added, “We’re particularly anxious to work with DoDEA physical educators on our latest innovations and technologies. For example, they can download all SPARK program components to an iPad, tablet, or smart phone. SPARK lesson plans, videos, assessment tools, bilingual skill and content cards, even our music, will all be on a website each teacher can access 24/7. They’ll be able to save SPARK to their computers and from there, download the content to any mobile device.”
SPARK is a collection of research-based physical education, after school, early childhood, and coordinated school health programs for educators serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Since 1989, SPARK has provided educational resources, teacher training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. SPARK also helps educators find physical education grants. For more information on SPARK, visit http://www.sparkpe.org or email spark(at)sparkpe(dot)org or call 1-800-SPARK-PE.