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First Lady Calls on School Leadership and School Champions to Get America’s Kids Moving

Earlier this week, the First Lady hosted two calls to ask school leadership and prospective school champions – including teachers, staff, parents, and community members – to join the new Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative.  An unprecedented collaboration of organizations across sectors, the new program will bring physical activity back to America’s schools through a simple, six-step process that helps all students get moving before, during, and after the school day.

The First Lady acknowledged that schools today face tight resources and difficult decisions, emphasizing that making time for physical activity can actually help schools advance their other priorities.  She explained how the new program is designed to make it easier for schools to create active environments and she urged everyone – from school administrators and boards, to P.E. teachers and parents – to go to LetsMoveSchools.org to join. 

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The “My School in Motion” program at California’s Overland Elementary School gets all students moving for the first 15-minutes of every school day.
I want to thank all of you for the outstanding leadership that you provide every single day in schools across this country.  And I know that you all know better than just about anyone else how important physical activity is for our children’s health and for their well-being.
You all know the statistics about the impact that it has on their behavior and their success in school and in life.  But the fact is that more than ever before I know that many of you are stretched very thin.  You’re facing budget cuts.  You are juggling all kinds of competing demands.  And I know that as the years pass, it can feel like it’s getting harder to find the time and the money to help your students be active.
And that is precisely why a few weeks ago we launched Let's Move! Active Schools, because we wanted to give all of you the tools and the support you need to bring physical activity back to your schools.
At the end of the day, whether or not this new initiative is successful will really be up to folks like all of you.  And that's why I thought it was so important for me to be on this call today.  Because we need you, and I want to make sure you understand how much you play a key role in bringing this effort to life, because we need your energy, we need your effort.  More importantly, we need your imagination to make this initiative work.

The First Lady was joined by an impressive and diverse lineup of guest speakers, each of whom has been a pioneer in creating active school environments. The guests included:

  • Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  • Deb Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary & Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Dr. John Skretta, Superintendent, Norris School District 160 in Firth, NE
  • Jill Wynns, Board Member, San Francisco County and Unified School District & Immediate Past President, California School Boards Association
  • Mike Humphreys, P.E. Teacher & U.S. Department of Education Classroom Fellow in Arlington, VA
  • Apryl Krakovsky, Parent & Founder of “My School in Motion” in Overland, CA
  • Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director, President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  • Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move!

These leaders shared accounts of the how regular physical activity is benefiting their students’ health, happiness, and performance in school.  They suggested innovative, cost effective solutions for making physical activity a part of every school day, and they emphasized the importance of leadership and recognition at every level.   

So, what are you waiting for?  No matter who you are, you have a role to play in activating the schools in your area.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get informed.  Learn about the many benefits of regular physical activity
  • Talk to your kids. Find out how much they’re moving throughout the day. 
  • Talk to your school. Tout the benefits of physical activity and ask how you can help create an active environment.  
  • Build a network of support. Engage other parents and community members to raise awareness and help your school become a Let’s Move! Active School.  Spread the word with this fact sheet.
  • Get started! Sign your school up at www.LetsMoveSchools.org.

Watch the First Lady's launch of Let's Move! Active Schools as part of the First Lady's Let's Move! third anniversary. 

Ali Kelley is the Deputy Director of Let's Move Outside!