Miami-Dade County Public Schools is All in for Physical Activity
Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
The 350,000 students of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) deserve the opportunity to be physically active where they live, learn and play. We know that having early, positive experiences with physical activity sets students on the course for life. Daily physical activity not only helps children stay healthy, it can also enhance important skills like concentration and problem-solving, which can improve academic performance and promote success in the classroom—and in life.
Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama elevated this issue of providing students with opportunities to be physically active. Identifying the school environment as an integral setting to get children moving, the First Lady announced Let’s Move! Active Schools—a multi-sector collaboration to support school teachers, administrators and staff to bring physical activity into the school day. With the launch of the program, she challenged school leadership to sign-up their local schools or districts.
Taking Mrs. Obama’s challenge to heart, less than three weeks after the launch, our district committed to sign up all 350 schools in M-DCPS for Let’s Move! Active Schools. Thanks to the hard work of our school leaders and staff, including our District Director of Physical Education and Health Literacy, Dr. Jayne Greenberg, I am proud to say that we have enrolled 100% of our schools in the program, becoming the largest urban district to do so.
As a Superintendent, I know firsthand the many challenges that schools or school districts face across the country. Budget cuts and limited resources drive us to make tough decisions on a daily basis. But, what I have learned is that cutting physical education or physical activity out of the school day is not the solution. In M-DCPS, our team works tirelessly to ensure that opportunities are available to students and staff of all backgrounds and abilities. As a result, we have seen tremendous progress in our students’ physical activity and fitness levels. Students are healthier, more confident and demonstrating healthy behaviors outside the school walls.
While changing your school environment and culture may seem overwhelming, the great news is that Let’s Move! Active Schools can help address these challenges. By spurring innovative solutions and offering customized tools every step of the way, schools will have the necessary resources to make incremental changes that will have a lasting impact.
I encourage you to sign up your local school or district for Let’s Move! Active Schools at www.letsmoveschools.org. Remember, every child deserves a chance to grow up healthy and strong. These opportunities will help kids be active and learn the love of movement, which will sustain them for a lifetime.