The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

February 1, 2014

Move to Improve Act gets reinforcement

State education leaders support bill and its concept

CHARLESTON — The Move to Improve Act got more positive reinforcement Friday at the Committee on Children and Poverty meeting as state education leaders testified that they support the bill and its concept.

The bill would require students to have 30 minutes of physical activity daily. Activity could be incorporated into regular classes and would not subtract time either from fundamental classes or art and music. Move to Improve is the companion to last year’s Feed to Achieve which allows all students to have free breakfasts and lunches.

State Board of Education president Gayle Manchin said that while many children in the state live in poverty, they are obese because they do not have access to the right food. Coupled with lack of activity, a diet deficient in proper nutrients is a recipe for childhood obesity, she said.

Manchin said the state board of education believes that 30 minutes of physical activity is “very productive” for students.

“When you can spark and energize children, they will be engaged,” Manchin said.

Manchin went a step further in response to a question about sugared beverages, particularly carbonated beverages.

“We should not have pop in schools,” she said. Manchin said she is also supportive of the idea of removing the purchase of sugared beverages from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program purchases.

West Virginia Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Charles Heinlein was equally supportive.

“The key word is ‘integrated,’” he said. “Teachers can integrate (physical activity) without detracting from other subjects.”

Heinlein said today’s students are much different than past generations of students. Today’s students are much more tech savvy, and are also confined to a seat for six hours a day.

According to a study, Heinlein said the predictors for life-long obesity are obvious at an early age.

“If a child is obese in kindergarten, there’s a good chance they will be obese for life,” he said.

Laura Dice, the assistant coordinator for KEYS 4 Healthy Kids, told the committee a doctor with her organization had been treating an 11-year-old child for obesity. He needed to lose 100 pounds, Dice said. The child could not lose the extra weight until his family moved from Charleston to South Charleston where he had access to a park and could play outside after school. The family also had access to grocery stores instead of fast-food restaurants, she said.

“By changing his environment, he was able to lose 100 pounds,” Dice said.

The bill got support from teachers’ unions, as well.

State American Federation of Teachers president Christine Campbell said teachers have understood the relationship of physical activity and brain development “for years.”

“We have an opportunity to lead the nation in developing innovative strategies that actively engage students in the classroom and beyond,” Campbell said. “The push over the last 10 years to decrease activity in exchange for additional seat-time has not improved student achievement.”

Campbell said the AFT’s Share My Lesson website, created by teachers, includes individual and unit lessons crossing all subject areas and all grade levels. The site has lessons that incorporate physical activity into content-specific lessons, she said.

She said spreading out the 30 minutes over a school day’s time allows teachers to have some creativity.

“Teachers will figure it out,” she said.

Her counterpart with the West Virginia Education Association, Dale Lee, said he supports the concept, but has not read the entire bill.

However, Lee said he has been a proponent of movement in the classroom since a geometry student used his arms to demonstrate a right angle. After that, Lee choreographed the “Angle Dance” as a lesson for his students.

“We’ve become an education system focused on a test,” he said. “I believe in teachers. I believe teachers do the things they need to do to help (students) achieve.

“I ask that you have faith in teachers, too.”

Both Campbell and Lee called on legislators to provide the necessary resources for classroom teachers to incorporate Move to Improve in their classrooms.

Richard Goff, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition, West Virginia Department of Education, updated the committee on Feed to Achieve.

Goff said initial participation in breakfast consumption was low; however, he said, timing is everything.

While breakfast consumption was initially at a rather dismal 28 percent, moving the early meal to be incorporated with first-period classes, served after first period or as a “grab and go” meal, improved that number to 80 percent, he said.

In addition to the good news that more children are eating a nutritious breakfast, Goff said that more participation in the free meal program means more federal dollars in school systems’ coffers. Most of the cost of the free program is in personnel, not in food, he said.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

  • Cornhole champions being decided in Charleston

    Cornhole, the strange-sounding game made popular in backyards and at football tailgate parties, is taking on a serious side this week.
    The American Cornhole Organization will crown its world champions as about 380 competitors from 17 states vie for $10,000 in prize money in singles and doubles events.

    July 19, 2014

  • Multi-state distracted driving enforcement planned

    Law enforcement agencies in six states plan participate in a weeklong campaign targeting distracted driving.

    July 18, 2014

  • Female guard accused of having sex with juvenile inmate

    A West Virginia Division of Corrections officer has been charged with having sexual contact with a female juvenile inmate at the Lincoln Detention Center in Wheeling.

    July 18, 2014

  • Two charged in 1999 disappearance of W.Va. women

    Two men have been indicted on murder charges stemming from the 1999 disappearance of a West Virginia woman and her daughter.
    A Lewis County grand jury charged both Charles Stephen Freeman, 51, of Archbold, Ohio, and Joseph Metz, 39, of Horner with two counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday in a sealed indictment, media outlets reported.

    July 18, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads