Creating More Active Schools

Physical education and physical activity are marginalized in American education for a host of reasons, suffering from a lack of funding, supportive policies, and political will. Inactive children are more likely to gain weight, miss school, underperform academically, and eventually face decreased earnings and higher health care costs.

In 2013, Let’s Move! Active Schools launched under First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature initiative, Let’s Move!, in an effort to address these complex and interrelated challenges. In 2017, the presidential transition prompted an evolution to better serve schools and children at scale. As part of this transition, the organization changed its name to Active Schools.

During a five-month strategic planning process, FSG helped the organization, its partners, and stakeholders co-create a new vision to reimagine school environments to provide opportunities for academic, social, emotional, and physical learning so that all children have the ability, confidence, and desire to lead active, healthy lives.

The engagement focused on three strategic objectives that take a systemic approach to creating active school environments:

  1. Improved supply of active school environments to fulfill unmet need and provide proof points throughout the country.
  2. Increased demand for active school environments such that public education systems feel positive pressure to provide physical education and physical activity.
  3. Reduced constraints to active school environments that unlock resources, yield favorable public policy, and produce educators who can effectively integrate physical activity into classrooms and the school day.

FSG worked with a 40-organization stakeholder group to co-create a field strategy informed by collective impact principles and success factors for national movement building. The strategy leveraged partners’ programs, services, assets, and networks; engaged new allies and connected causes; and equipped partners to engage around a collective strategy.  FSG’s work on this project included:

  • Surveying, interviewing, and conducting focus groups with school administrators and staff, partners, and parents to understand the current state of school physical education and physical activity, and the imprint the Let’s Move! Active Schools campaign had on it.
  • Developing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to uncover insights associated with the Let’s Move! Active Schools approach to date.
  • Co-creating a strategic framework based on inputs from partner, stakeholder, and expert interviews.
  • Producing an implementation plan for the new strategy, with specific activities, recommended operational structures and success measures, and budget considerations.

Comprising 94 partner organizations and almost 36,000 individual champions, Active Schools is currently conducting national campaigns to equip and activate its target audiences to drive systems, policy, and environment changes that prioritize and increase school physical education and physical activity.

About Active Schools
Powered by a national collaboration of leading health and education organizations, Active Schools is a national movement to ensure that 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K–12 schools across the country.

Learn more about FSG’s education & youth services >


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