SPARK provides evidence-based programs in K-12 physical education, classroom physical activity and recess, early childhood physical activity, afterschool physical activity and coordinated school health. Each SPARK Program provides a coordinated package of highly active standards-based curriculum, on-site staff development, extensive follow-up support and expert-selected content-matched equipment.
The SPARK team began studying elementary physical education in 1989, and today, the name SPARK represents a collection of exemplary, research-based physical activity and nutrition programs. The original SPARK study was supported by the Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and San Diego State University.
Numerous publications have reported the effects of the SPARK physical education (PE) program including papers which show evidence of achievement in variables such as physical activity and fitness, academic achievement, motor skills development and other process measures, among many others.
Among SPARK’s many accolades, some of its most prominent recognitions include:
- Citation in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report as a “school-based solution to our nation’s health care crisis.”
- SPARK was identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a national model for programs designed to increase physical activity and combat childhood obesity in their report, “School-Based Physical Education: An Action Guide.”
- Validation by the U.S. Department of Education and earned “Exemplary Program” status.
- “Gold” rankings from a Cooper Institute funded study examining effective U.S. activity and health interventions. SPARK was the only program to achieve the highest level for K-8 physical education.
- SPARK was identified by the National Cancer Institute as a “school-based physical education intervention” recommended by the Guide to Community Preventive Services.
SPARK also has expert trainers that travel the globe to conduct effective workshops for teachers. SPARK Certified Trainers directly deliver SPARK by working with a single site, a cluster of sites or entire districts or cities in an effort to improve the quantity and quality of physical activity and education. They also offer institutes in San Diego during the summer to give educators in-depth training.
SPARK has trained teachers representing more than 100,000 schools worldwide and facilitated or partnered in more than 20 research studies and special projects since 1989. Annually, SPARK conducts 400-500 contracted workshops, presents at more than 60 professional conferences and leads nine institutes. The compilation of these efforts results in more than 20,000 teachers being trained and more than 1 million students impacted every year.
SPARK is proud to support Georgia Shape’s Power Up for 30 initiative as one of the Champion resources listed in the Power Up for 30 Resource Guide. They can provide evidence-based programs that help children learn the skills needed for participating in lifelong activity.