BPS seeks to improve both the quantity and quality of physical education (PE) and physical activity (PA) being given to all students in grades K-12 through it’s Let’s Move in BPS strategy. Let’s Move in BPS is a core component of Healthy Connections, the district’s 2010 plan to actively promote the health and wellness of all BPS students to advance both their healthy development and readiness to learn. Let’s Move in BPS will impact two of the three preliminary outcome goals Healthy Connections: Improve Student Fitness and Promote Healthy Student Behaviors & Engagement; it’s also an important strategy to help meet the aggressive academic targets laid out in the 2010 Acceleration Agenda. The overarching goal of Let’s Move in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) is:

By 2015, BPS will provide all students in grades K-12 with high quality, standards-based physical education at least once per week. In addition, BPS will provide all students in grades K-12 with daily planned physical activity, such as movement breaks, structured recess and/or cross-curricula lessons involving movement.

Let’s Move in BPS is modeled after  Let’s Move, a nationwide campaign  unveiled in February 2010 by First Lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity so that children born today can reach adulthood at a healthy weight.  The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) supports the goal of Let’s Move through its Let’s Move in School initiative.  The goal of Let’s Move in Schools is to ensure that every school provides all students with a comprehensive school physical activity program (CSPAP). A CSPAP leverages all opportunities for school-based physical activity, so all students participate in physical activity each day and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

The five components of the Let’s Move in Schools nationally recommended CSPAP are:

    1. high-quality physical education (PE)
    2. physical activity during school;
    3. physical activity before and after school;
    4. staff participation; and
    5. family and community involvement.

Let’s Move in BPS will provide all BPS students with daily physical activity and weekly physical education by implementing a CSPAP in all 125 BPS schools by 2015.  Let’s Move in BPS will focus on developing two components of the CSPAP in all BPS schools:  high-quality physical education and physical activity during the school day.

Physical Education
High quality Physical Education (PE) is the cornerstone of a CSPAP.  PE is a planned, sequential program of curricula and instruction that helps students develop the knowledge, attitudes, motor skills, self-management skills and confidence needed to adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles.

 Increasing the Quantity of Physical Education
With continued support from the BPS Superintendent, Academic Superintendents, Human Resources, the Health and Wellness and school principals BPS will continue to work collaboratively to increase the number of certified PE teachers in BPS.  As of SY10-11, only 65% of BPS schools received PE instruction from a certified PE teacher.  However, with the district’s focus on increasing the quantity of PE, 80% of BPS schools currently provide PE instruction from a certified PE teacher. This commitment to increase PE teachers during difficult fiscal times and increase academic pressures to close the achievement gap is a true testament to the district’s support of Let’s Move in BPS.

Improving the Quality of Physical Education
Since 2010, the Health and Wellness Department’s Physical Education Instructional Coaches have provided professional development, PE instructional coaching and curriculum development necessary to implement SPARK, a standards-based PE curriculum, to PE teachers impacting 75 schools in K-8th grades.  In 9th-12th grades, the Physical Education Instructional Coach has provided PE instructional coaching, professional development and curriculum that support 14 high schools with the implementation of standards-based PE curriculum.  As a result of these efforts, PE teachers in a total of 89 schools are implementing a standards-based PE curriculum.   Lastly, the Health and Wellness Department is working with PE teachers to finish revising the BPS PE standards and curriculum frameworks by June 2012.

Physical Activity During the School Day
Physical Activity (PA) is a behavior consisting of bodily movement that requires energy expenditure above the normal physiological (muscular, cardio respiratory) requirements of a typical school day.

Wellness Champions
Wellness Champions are active members of a school community, such as a teachers, nurses, paraprofessionals, parents, partners, or lunch monitors, with a commitment to creating a healthier school environment. Since 2010, the BPS Health and Wellness Department has trained and supported 114 Wellness Champions to lead efforts to increase PA within their schools. As of SY11-12, Wellness Champions have increased PA for BPS students in 62 schools. Wellness Champions lead their school’s efforts to provide daily PA for students during school in at least one of the following PA focus areas:

Classroom Movement Breaks: Brief (5-10 minutes) break during academic class time when students have the opportunity to move around and be physically active.

Recess: A scheduled break from academic class time where movement may be promoted through wellness champion to make children move more or be more physically active.

Movement Promotions: Activity outside of the classroom during the school day that promotes movement or physical activity

Cross-Curricular Lessons Involving Movement: A lesson on academic subject matter that involves movement or physical activity.

Over its six years of partnership with BPS, Playworks has established itself as a leading organization impacting the healthy development of kids and schools. Let’s Move in BPS will further develop its partnership with Playworks to provide schools with full-time “Coaches” or provide schools with Recess Implementation.

In SY11-12, Playworks delivered its direct service, full-day program model in 32 Boston Schools, impacting 12,500 students daily; this model places one full-time, well-trained adult “coach” at a school to teach and organize games and physical activities before, during, and after school. Playworks will continue to partner with BPS schools to annually train, place and support full-time Playworks “Coaches” in 32 BPS schools.

Since 2010, the BPS Health and Wellness Department and Playworks partnered to provide 30 BPS schools with Recess Implementation. Recess Implementation training is a two-day professional development workshop that provides BPS lunch monitors and other key school staff on the recess “yard” with the tools and strategies to prevent bullying and create safe, inclusive recess environments through play. Recess Implementation technical assistance consists of one full-day site visit, written feedback report and focus group for each participating school’s recess team.