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Success Stories

Denver Public School - Academy 360

Zebra Incorporated

Denver charter school makes physical education a foundational element

If you were building a school from the ground up and hoping to attract students typically seen as at-risk, what elements would you include beyond the traditional academic components?

If you are Sally Sorte, the founder and now executive director of Academy 360 in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood, you would bring a strong focus on health and wellness as well as a deep commitment to expanding those concepts to support the entire community, not just the students in your school.

Sorte has already seen that this focus, and particularly the school’s commitment to daily physical education for every student, has been a draw for neighborhood families.

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St. Vrain School District

Zebra Incorporated

St. Vrain School District moves the needle with quality physical education
Front Range elementary school sees benefits from active students

At Mead Elementary School, it all started about four years ago with a shared reading project for all staff and a belief that the schools situation could improve with more focus on movement. At that moment, it was a leap of faith. The school was on improvement status.

Today, test scores have risen steadily. Discipline referrals are down. And a sense of community is building around what can be accomplished through quality physical education, increased physical activity and student and family understanding that healthy living is a school priority.

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Aurora Public Schools

Zebra Incorporated

Aurora Public Schools use physical education to improve school performance
Large urban district finds value in physical education and makes the change school by school

To say that Chris Strater is on a mission to promote quality physical education is an understatement by any measure.

The veteran teacher with 29 years of experience under her belt started the 2015 school year teaching 12 sections of physical education every day, so that each of the 312 children that attend Lyn Knoll Elementary School could have PE every day. She has since cut back to four days a week of physical education so she has some planning and preparation time.

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Archuleta School District

Zebra Incorporated

School district in the heart of the mountains puts a focus on physical education.
Tiny Archuleta School District puts emphasis on healthy living for life

In the Archuleta School District in Pagosa Springs, Captain America is alive and well. And so is a passion for quality physical education and encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle.

On just about any given morning, you can find Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason dressed as Captain America and perched on his specially-built podium high atop Pagosa Springs Elementary School. As the buses and cars roll in to deliver students to school, he encourages exercise. Even the teachers come outside to join in in the minutes before school starts as Kurt-Mason calls out encouragement from his microphone.

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Chicago Public Schools

Zebra Incorporated

A national leader on the effort, the Chicago Public Schools are demonstrating how a large urban school district, home to 660 schools serving more than 396,000 students, decided to dedicate itself to providing required physical education minutes to every student, every day from elementary school through high school. The fourth largest district in the country serves a diverse population of students including 85 percent low income and 12 percent English language learners.

Realizing their district was falling short of the Illinois state mandate to provide PE to every student every day, the Minds in Motion campaign was launched to help the district reach this goal. With the business and civic community firmly in support, the district school board passed a policy in January 2014 reiterating their commitment to physical education every day for every student.

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