National Fitness Foundation Announces Winners of its First-Ever PE Innovation Challenge

National Fitness Foundation Announces Winners of its First-Ever PE Innovation Challenge

National Leaders Select Top Three Projects Focused on Creativity, Impact, and Inclusivity

 Washington, DC, March 16, 2018 – The National Fitness Foundation announced the top three winning projects from their PE Innovation Challenge with DonorsChoose.org. Held over a three-month period, the Challenge invited teachers to submit their most creative and innovative health and fitness ideas. By submitting their project and following Challenge criteria, every teacher was promised matching donations from the National Fitness Foundation.

The PE Innovation Challenge deployed $500,000 to classrooms across the country and funded over 1,000 projects and 800 teachers. The funds donated through the Challenge helped teachers purchase high-quality sports and fitness equipment to support physical activity inside and outside of the classroom.

In an effort to promote innovative, forward-thinking fitness solutions, the Challenge offered teachers a chance to win a DonorsChoose.org gift card up to $10,000. The top three winning projects were determined by an expert judging panel, which included representatives from Nike, Target, American Heart Association, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The panel rated submitted projects based on student engagement, replication ability, and overall originality.

“At Nike we know that kids are Made to Play and the PE Innovation Challenge is a great way to inspire others to get kids active,” said Matt Geschke, Portfolio & Strategy Director for Nike Global Community Impact. “It was so exciting to see the commitment and creativity of PE teachers and their schools across the nation to get kids moving, and to have the opportunity to play a role in helping the National Fitness Foundation elevate projects that have the power to move the next generation forward through the PE Innovation Challenge.”

The winning projects represent three states and demonstrate how transformative teachers can be in inspiring lifelong movement. 

1.    First Place – “Hoop There It Is! Cross-Curricular Fit Healthy Bodies and Minds” (Louisiana): At Chahta-Ima Elementary School, Mr. Carruth is using the funds raised through the Challenge to promote cross-curricular learning in the physical education classroom. Through purchasing equipment such as pedometers, stethoscopes and a physical activity bingo game, students will stay active while learning key science, math, language, and nutrition concepts. Learn more.

2.    Second Place – “Deaf/Hard of Hearing Students with Low Vision Need Adapted Sports” (North Carolina): By requesting adaptive sports equipment, Mrs. Darden-Perry is ensuring that her physical education classroom is inclusive and supportive of students with disabilities. The equipment funded through the Challenge motivates students to participate and learn fundamental physical activity and fitness concepts. Learn more.

3.    Third Place – “Choose to Move 1,000 Minute Challenge” (California): After hearing that parents were concerned about their children’s health and fitness, Mrs. K designed a school-wide fitness challenge that encourages students to log 1,000 minutes of physical activity throughout the school year. By using timers and various fitness equipment, parents and students can track movement before, during and after the school day. Learn more.

Fellow Innovation Judge and Chair of American Heart Association’s Physical Activity Committee, Dr Felipe Lobelo added, “The PE Innovation Challenge was a unique opportunity for teachers to inspire physical activity in their schools. Everything from the quality of the projects, to the passion of the teachers behind them, was incredible and showcases the impact that can be made when innovation is recognized and rewarded.”

To better understand how teachers utilized the funds, and to identify key trends, opportunities, and challenges within physical education, the Foundation and DonorsChoose.org developed a PE Innovation Challenge Summary Report. The report outlines five major takeaways, including:

  • Teachers harnessed creativity to encourage physical activity through various cross-curricular projects, combating the impact schools’ shrinking budgets and dedicated time for PE.
  • There was an extensive need for basic fitness equipment across geographic communities.
  • The average budget for the Challenge was just over $200, nearly a quarter of the nation’s median PE budget, and helps expand the impact of physical activity opportunities for students with a minimal amount of money.
  • The Challenge funded several PE and classroom teachers requesting adaptive fitness and sports equipment for students with intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • Teachers found exciting ways to integrate technology into their PE classrooms and demonstrated willingness to embrace new developments.

The Full Report can be viewed here

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About the National Fitness Foundation
The National Fitness Foundation leads programs and drives innovations that prepare children for a lifetime of health & fitness. As the official congressionally chartered nonprofit of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, the Foundation uses public-private partnerships to increase physical activity participation and improve fitness levels for millions of kids across the country. With the focus on enhancing quality physical education, the Foundation leads the nation’s model for fitness assessment and education in schools and has delivered trainings and grants to thousands of schools nationwide. For more information, visit fitness.foundation.    

About DonorsChoose.org
DonorsChoose.org is the leading platform for giving to public schools. Teachers across America use the site to create projects requesting resources their students need, and donors give to the projects that inspire them. Since its founding by a Bronx teacher in 2000, 2.8 million people and partners have given $580 million to projects reaching 25 million students. Unique among education funding platforms, the DonorsChoose.org team vets each project request and ships resources directly to the school. Every donor receives photos of their project in action, thank-yous from the classroom, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent. DonorsChoose.org was the first charity to make the top 10 on Fast Company’s list of the Most Innovative Companies in the World. Visit www.donorschoose.org to learn more.