I started at HealthMPowers over 5 years ago and had the privilege of assisting in my very first Power Up For 30 (PU30) training within my first week. That training was like nothing I’d ever experienced. It opened my eyes to a world of endless possibilities and opportunities where the concept of physical activity didn’t just conjure up images of sports or working out in a gym, but something that is universal to everyone in every phase of life.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Seven amazing secondary schools representing Carrollton City, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry and Newton counties were in attendance. Now, I already knew that educators are some of the most brilliant and creative minds walking this earth, having grown up in a family of educators myself, but this group truly blew me away. Each school had a combination of Physical Education teachers, Classroom teachers (including art, math, science and language arts) and Principals that all came together to identify ways to engage every student in their schools in 30 minutes of physical activity outside of Physical Education.
I watched as they thought through the times when they observed students being the most sluggish or when they saw students having the most behavior challenges and identified creative ways to incorporate physical activity to further assist in helping students be their BEST selves all day, every day. We all walked away having a greater understanding of the importance of Physical Education teachers and the need for school staff to buy into the fact that STUDENTS NEED TO BE ACTIVE, EVERY DAY.
Think about it, students spend more than half of their days (not including sleeping time) at school. Once they are home from school, most of them aren’t outside playing as much as previous generations for various reasons. School presents a wide-open lane to create opportunities for physical activity throughout the day.
Over the course of the next 3 years, I had the incredible opportunity to continue working with each of those schools as we worked together to develop what is now known as the Secondary Power Up for 30 training, which evolved into our current Virtual Power Up for 30 Modules for all grade levels.
Each school incorporated unique strategies to engage their students in daily physical activity like:
- Hallway activity breaks
- Physical activity outside of the classroom break (AKA recess)
- Physical activity calendars
- Before school physical activity clubs
Each school was also very intentional about empowering their students as physical activity leaders by giving them the freedom to develop and lead physical activity time in their schools during morning announcements and in the classrooms. This is by far my absolute FAVORITE Power Up for 30 strategy of them all, engaging students as leaders. The Henry County school saw INCREDIBLE results in attendance and classroom behavior utilizing their students as physical activity leaders.
I remember getting the call from the former Principal at EXCEL Academy, an alternative school, in Henry County about how their disciplinary referral count for that month reduced almost 79% in comparison to that same month in the previous year. They actually created physical activity “jobs” developed by student leaders to integrate the Power Up for 30 strategies throughout the school day.
Students took pride in having a leading role in something that helped them and their peers to make positive changes. This is just one of MANY stories and evidence that I’ve received during my tenure at HealthMPowers that shows that Power Up for 30 is so much more than just a training. Power Up for 30 is more than resources. More than a program. It’s even more than an initiative. It is a MOVEMENT. Whether you are a teacher, parent, guardian, student, administrator, sponsor or someone who stumbled on this site and took a moment to read up to this point, I encourage you to take a look at the Power Up for 30 Training Modules, read the stories and then take the challenge to POWER UP FOR 30. For every school. For every child. Every day. Let’s all work together in this powerful movement to keep Georgia’s students healthy!
Sequoya received her Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology at Howard University and has over ten years of experience as a certified personal trainer, certified kettlebell instructor, and certified suspension training instructor. She spent over five years as a director and lead instructor at the National Personal Training Institute teaching anatomy, physiology, nutrition, training methods and exercise prescription. Over the past five years, she has played an integral role in developing the training for Power Up for 30, an initiative focused on increasing physical activity and FitnessGram, Georgia’s fitness assessment, supported by Georgia’s Department of Public Health and Department of Education. She is a passionate fitness and public health professional, proud wife and mother who enjoys helping children and families to learn to lead healthier lives.