To Teach The Whole Child, Schools Need Recess

Originally published Aug. 30 by The Huffington Post.

Whether jumping through sprinklers at city parks, chasing soccer balls at camp, or kayaking with family, the quintessential childhood summer is filled with physical activity. Fortunately, summer programming has often reflected that kids need to get outdoors, use their bodies, play, and socialize. What’s troubling is what happens during the other 10 months of the year, when kids are put behind desks for between six and seven hours each day. I often wonder: What do schools have against using the body during the school day?

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Getting health, physical education into schools key to reversing troubling health trends

Originally published Aug. 28, 2017 in the Tennessean.

The health and well-being of Tennessee’s children are getting in the way of learning — a problem that foreshadows deeper economic and health struggles in the future, according to multiple experts who met in Nashville Monday.

Fusing health education and literacy into schools will be central to improving both the physical and educational well-being of Tennessee’s students, according to conversations between a wide array of health and education experts at what Dr. Richard Besser, CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, called a “landmark” summit in Nashville.

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Commentary: Utah students and teachers need real middle school health, PE and art

Originally published Aug. 8 in the Salt Lake Tribune.

By Tim Pettus

During an interview on KSL radio August 8, Utah State Board of Education member Linda Hansen stated, “instead of having a separate class for PE, they may integrate health/PE type issues into other classes that they have.”

Is Hansen implying that overworked classroom teachers will happily take on more work and teach a subject they did not study in college, are not qualified to teach, and most likely don’t want to teach?


Outside food limits, more exercise contribute to more healthy schools in Hall County

Originally published Aug. 13, 2017 in the Gainesville Times.

Parents don’t bring cupcakes in for celebrations at McEver Arts Academy. In fact, other than lunches brought from home, there isn’t a lot of outside food in the school.

Students are encouraged to exercise through physical education classes, daily recess and even special classes on Fridays where the children can experience such opportunities yoga, dance and adventures in fitness classes.

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After two years, West Des Moines schools switch to IHT Spirit heart rate technology

“This is what we need to do to help students be healthy and fit for life. If we don’t provide the necessary tools, we are doing the students a disservice.”

Aug. 3, 2017 – Two years ago, Brian Rhoads implemented a pilot program to study heart rate in his physical education classes at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School (West Des Moines, Iowa). The program continues this school year district-wide in all 13 of West Des Moines’ campuses but with IHT Spirit System equipment.

“We piloted a program using [a heart rate technology company’s] chest strap monitors in our 9th grade building,” Rhoads said. “The next year we tried out [the same company’s] wrist monitors, but they weren’t multi-user friendly in a school of 700 students.”

To meet the needs of their innovative program, Rhoads used research and analysis to convince West Des Moines’ leadership to switch to the IHT Spirit System, complete with assessment software, to be used throughout the district. As the new K-12 PE Curriculum Leader for the district, Rhoads saw a better fit for the district’s needs: the adidas ZONE for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors and the IHT Spirit Assessment Measures software. He estimates that 7,500 students will use the heart rate monitors this year.

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