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Schools Train for Power Up for 30

February 24, 2014

This week, Georgia schools will start Powering Up.

Cobb County Schools and Decatur County Schools will begin training this week to launch Power Up for 30, a program that encourages elementary schools to integrate 30 more minutes of physical activity into each school day. The launch marks a new phase in the state’s efforts to get Georgia’s children moving more, making healthier choices and reaching their full academic potential.

“We need to make real change in Georgia.  To make real change, you don’t need a monumental program, but you do need consistency, a program every day,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “That’s what Power Up for 30 is.  It’s 30 minutes, every day, every school, every child in Georgia.”

Power Up for 30 is a key initiative of Georgia SHAPE, Gov. Nathan Deal’s effort to reduce childhood obesity in the state. The program empowers teachers and staff to incorporate more physical activity into the school day using innovative strategies. To do that, Power Up for 30 invites teams of three staff representatives from each elementary school to attend a one-day training session in which they receive low- to no-cost resources along with a personalized needs assessment.

The training sessions, led by SHAPE partner HealthMPowers, will guide training teams from the elementary schools on how to maximize the use of facilities and personnel before, during, and after school to integrate physical activity. Each team of one administrator, one physical education teacher and one classroom teacher will receive an Expanded Resource Guide, which can help them implement Power Up for 30 through school-wide policies, in recess activities or as part of classroom curriculum lessons. The school leaders will participate in examples of integrated physical activity, such as Brain Breaks, and they’ll receive technical support on strategies for reaching their school’s health and academic goals.

Cobb County was the first district to volunteer for the initiative by signing a district-wide pledge last spring. The district will receive the first training session on Tues., Feb. 25. Decatur County Schools will have their training session on Thurs., Feb. 27.

Mark Anderson, health and physical education supervisor for Cobb County Schools, signed the Power Up for 30 Pledge to support the work his schools were already doing to implement the Center for Disease Control’s Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program in partnership with his county’s community leaders and business partners.

“Power Up for 30 helps all teachers address the belief of incorporating movement before, during, and after the school day to reach national recommendations,” Anderson said. “Classroom teachers are finding the benefits of providing movement during the day to help increase student focus and attention. Students who move during the day also show fewer signs of stress.”

Anderson recognizes the link between movement and academic achievement, and he believes that Power Up for 30 will help his students achieve both fitness and learning goals.

“Providing movement opportunities is not just the physical educators’ job, but that of the whole community,” he said. “Once teachers actually see the academic benefits that movement provides their students, they are our biggest champions.”

Studies have shown that even 20 minutes of walking or other physical activity can stimulate brain pathways that help enhance learning. Other evidence has shown a positive relationship between increased physical activity and improved attendance, classroom behavior and academic performance. 

To learn more about how schools can get involved or for information about upcoming training dates and locations, please contact powerupfor30@georgiashape.org