Something to Believe In: Physical Activity as a Springboard for Student Success

By Dolly Lambdin, Ed.D. (Clinical Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin and President of SHAPE America)

The blog was originally published by the National Education Association on 9/30/14.

The pressure to excel is rising. The stakes are higher. Budgets and curriculum that were once integral to student development are being slashed. And our educators are expected to boost student performance and test scores with limited resources and often less pay. For those who have committed their lives to transforming the futures of young people, the charge may seem overwhelming and hopeless at times. But today I give educators something to believe in, something to rally around, something that will reshape learning environments. The only cost to you is a “shift in thinking.”

This new mindset embraces a culture of physical activity in our schools. Why physical activity? Because students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance, focus and classroom behaviors. No, physical activity won’t solve all of our problems, but it does ensure we are providing the best possible chance for our students to succeed. And the great news is that we don’t have to build a physically active culture from scratch or do it alone.

Let’s Move! Active Schools  makes it simple for teachers and strategic for administrators to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity a day for their students. By streamlining the selection of programs, resources, professional development and funding opportunities, and delivering a customized action plan, Let’s Move! Active Schools helps educators develop a culture in which physical activity and physical education are foundational to academic success.

At SHAPE America we work to advance the profession and give students the opportunities through quality physical and health education to become “physically literate.”  As the national experts in health and physical education, our association is proud to be a managing partner of Let’s Move! Active Schools. By joining forces with Let’s Move! Active Schools, we are able to help elevate the role of physical educators and enact systems-change.

Although our physical educators are the resident experts in fitness and health, we want all school leaders and staff to feel empowered to get students moving. Since Let’s Move! Active Schools is a comprehensive approach – physical education; physical activity during school; physical activity before- and after-school; staff involvement; and family & community engagement – anyone can help champion the effort and make a difference.

By supporting Let’s Move! Active Schools, together we will be able to help shape a future where children in schools become physically literate, and regular physical activity and making healthy choices are a regular part of daily life. It is all a matter of believing. A “shift in thinking” has to start with someone, somewhere in your school community. Why can’t it be you?

Visit Active Schools to become a champion.

Dolly Lambdin, Ed.D. is a clinical professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Dolly is the current president of SHAPE America, has 16 years experience teaching grades K-8, additional years in teacher education, and has authored numerous Physical Education and Fitness texts. She earned an Ed.D. and BS from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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