Active Schools is a national movement to ensure that 60 minutes a day of physical education and before, during, and after-school physical activity is the norm in K-12 schools throughout the United States. It is powered by a collaborative of more than 90 public and private organizations who believe that meaningful, sustainable, large-scale social change is best accomplished when organizations and individuals work together.
Formally launched in 2013, Let’s Move! Active Schools played a key role in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature Let’s Move! platform. In alignment with education and health trends, Active Schools’ vision is to reimagine school environments that provide opportunities for academic, social, emotional, and physical learning so that all children have the ability, confidence, and desire to lead active, healthy lives.
After five successful years of providing schools with guidance on best practices and evidence-based programs, grants, and special events, Active Schools found a new organizational home under Action for Healthy Kids, a nationwide grassroots network mobilizing school professionals, families, and communities to take actions that improve school foods, nutrition education, physical activity, and physical education for all students.1
Active Schools works on two fronts. They serve as a hub to help schools access best practices, programs, and resources to increase physical education and physical activity opportunities for students. At the same time, they use communication and activation strategies to engage decision-makers to help make systems and policy changes that will enable schools to educate the whole child.2
Since establishing healthy behaviors during childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood, schools can play a critical role in promoting health and helping children establish lifelong healthy behaviors. To have the most positive impact, Active Schools believes that schools, government agencies, community organizations, parents, and other community members must work together through a collaborative and comprehensive approach. They promote the use of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) and the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) models.3
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ASCD developed the WSCC model in collaboration with key leaders from the fields of health, public health, school health, and education. Since public health and education serve the same children, often in the same settings, the focus to align the common goals of both sectors with a whole child approach is the basis of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.4
The WSCC model includes 10 components: health education; physical education and physical activity; nutrition environment and services; health services; counseling, psychological, and social services; social and emotional climate; physical environment; employee wellness; family engagement; and community involvement.5 This approach meets the need for greater emphasis on both the psychosocial and physical environment as well as the roles that community agencies and families play in the wellbeing of children.6
The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program is a multi-component approach that includes quality physical education as the foundation; physical activity before, during, and after school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement. The goals of the program are: to provide a variety of school-based physical activities to enable all students to participate in 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, and to provide coordination among the CSPAP components to maximize understanding, application, and practice of the knowledge and skills learned in physical education so that all students will be fully physically educated and well-equipped for a lifetime of physical activity.7
The Active Schools’ website offers a variety of resources, including an Active Schools Self-Assessment Tool, current grant opportunities, awards, fact sheets, research briefs, campaigns, and videos.8
- 1. “Active Schools, Formerly a Let’s Move! Initiative, Finds New Organizational Home in Action for Healthy Kids.” Action for Healthy Kids. < http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/media-center/press-releases/1956-active-schools-formerly-a-lets-move-initiative-finds-new-organizational-home-in-action-for-healthy-kids > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 2. “About Us.” Active Schools. < https://www.activeschoolsus.org/about > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 3. “Resources & Grants.” Active Schools. < https://www.activeschoolsus.org/resources-grants/ > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 4. “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. < www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/wscc/index.htm > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 5. “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child: A Collaborative Approach to Learning and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. < https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/wscc/WSCCmodel_update_508tagged.pdf > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 6. Op. cit., “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC).”
- 7. “Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. < https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/cspap.htm > 11 Oct. 2018.
- 8. Op. cit., “Resources & Grants.”