A substantial grant from the U.S. Department of Education will allow CPS to increase the quality and quantity of both Physical Education (PE) and health and nutrition programs for students in grades K-12.
Awarded through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), this grant recognizes the District’s understanding of the critical link between physical health and academic performance. It will provide CPS with $2.25 million over three years – a welcome addition to Healthy CPS, which seeks to promote greater health and wellness among all students.
“We’re proud to be recognized for our efforts to increase physical education activities and nutrition awareness among all our students,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “These funds will greatly expand CPS’s efforts to promote both healthy eating and physical education, while better supporting PE teachers who provide this critical education to our students.”
The funding will support PE teachers by providing the kind of professional development that will help them stay abreast of the latest research, issues and trends affecting their field. Additionally, CPS’s Office of Student Health and Wellness (OSHW) will provide on-site coaching for these teachers and will develop tools to improve the quality of PE in schools, including a curriculum map, student assessments, and a technological infrastructure to collect and assess student fitness data.
“These tools will shape what should be happening every day in PE classes,” said Andy Pickett of OSHW. “They help ensure that the time students are spending in PE is quality time.”
Grant funding will also be used to increase physical activity in the school day. Over the next several years, the District plans to further implement the 30+20+10 program – a wellness initiative currently being piloted in 30 CPS schools. The program provides students with 30 minutes of Physical Education, 20 minutes of recess, and 10 minutes of in-class movement breaks per day, for a total of one hour of physical activity.
“This program aligns with national recommendations for daily physical activity, and maximizes the physical, academic and behavioral elements of quality Physical Educationn,” said Annie Lionberger of OSHW.
A four-year PE requirement for all high school students will also be implemented by CPS, and health education efforts will be strengthened by integrating nutrition education throughout both the school building and curriculum.
“These policies, along with the grant funding that will help us implement them, are representative of the increased commitment CPS has made to Physical Education as an important part of the school day,” said Lionberger. “Receiving this PEP grant is gratifying, because it shows us that those efforts have been recognized.”