Iowa Elementary School’s Active Environment Earns Recognition from First Lady

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  First Lady Michelle Obama awarded Edmunds Elementary School the 2016 Let's Move! Active Schools Award for getting its students up and moving during the day. Edmunds Elementary physical education teacher Erik Heard stopped by the studio to tell us a little more about the award and the school's active environment.

Let's move! Active Schools, part of First Lady Michelle Obama's health and fitness initiative dedicated to ensuring 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools, honored Edmunds Elementary School with the 2016 Let's Move! Active Schools National Award for its outstanding efforts in creating an active school environment. Edmunds is one of only three schools in Iowa to earn this recognition.

"I applaud these schools for creating active school environments that are inspiring students to be more engaged learners and ensuring that physical education and physical activity continue to be an important part of every child's educational experience," said First Lady Obama.

The award is the nation's top physical education and physical activity distinction for K-12 schools and celebrates a school's commitment to providing students with at least 60 minutes a day of before, during and after school physical activity. Only 544 schools across the country achieved this prestigious honor in 2016.

Powered by a national collaborative of leading health, education and private sector organizations, Let's Move! Active Schools equips schools with the resources, programs, professional development, and grants to increase physical education and physical activity opportunities for students, and to cultivate an active school environment.

Why are active schools so important? Because active kids do better. Regular physical activity not only helps kids stay healthy and strong, but it can also lead to higher test scores, improved attendance, increased focus, better behavior in class, enhanced leadership skills, and a lifetime of healthy habits.

Edmunds was honored for excelling at providing quality, standards-based physical education. The school's physical education teacher, Erik Heard, is passionate about helping students become physically literate and active adults. Edmunds has also implemented yoga classrooms to allow students to be more active and mindful.

"We commend Edmunds Elementary School's model work around enhancing physical education and physical activity opportunities and inspiring students to go from zero to sixty both in the classroom and in life," said Charlene R. Burgeson, Let's Move! Active Schools Executive Director. "Edmunds is leading the way in this generation-changing movement that is transforming our nation's schools into active and healthy hubs."

To earn a Let's Move! Active Schools National Award, a school must have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education; physical activity before and after school; physical activity during school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement.

As part of the Let's Move! Active Schools National Award package, Edmunds received a large display banner, national award certificate and congratulatory letter from the First Lady.