New progam aids in more physical activity among students

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Adams County School District 50 elementary and middle school physical education teachers were the students on Friday, Feb. 15, participating in a program implemented in the district this school year.

The program is called SPARK and is a new curriculum tool aiding in the district’s efforts to provide more moderate to vigorous physical activity for students.

The training session gave teachers new teaching ideas and class lessons.

The program is funded by a three-year, $490,000 grant awarded to the district from the Colorado Health foundation. This is the first year of the program, but already teachers are seeing a difference in their students.

“This program has been so good for Westminster, and physical education and kids’ movement time. We hope it’s also making a difference in health,” said Tim Woodruff, PE teacher at Hodgkins Elementary School and grant coordinator. “They say when kids are more active it helps their academics. There is a correlation between the two.”

The SPARK Curriculum is designed to establish healthy lifestyles at a young age through inclusion, active and fun PE activities. Woodruff said the SPARK curriculum was chosen because his team felt that the program came closest to hitting all of the state’s learning targets. He said the district also implemented supplemental resources into the curriculum like fitness books and Fitnessgram, a fitness assessment and reporting program for youth.

“Now we have enough resources that all the teachers have access to meet all the state standards,” Woodruff said. “SPARK is just one of the resources.”

Woodruff said the district also used the grant money to purchase $20,000 in equipment to go to each school.

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