When you imagine the "perfect" classroom, you most likely envision students sitting quietly in their desks all day long; however, giving students the opportunity to move is actually very important to student success. After all, students who move more tend to be more fit, but that's not all. They also perform better in school. Two studies conducted in Mississippi found a surprising result: As student fitness levels increased, academic achievement improved while absenteeism and behavioral episodes declined.

Put simply: When students get to move at school, things get better.

Understanding that many schools are challenged to provide students with adequate physical activity opportunities, The Bower Foundation partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools to launch Move to Learn across Mississippi.

Move to Learn started as a campaign to highlight and promote success stories of schools creatively incorporating physical activity into the school day; however, Bower still perceived a need to bring movement into the classroom. So, in October 2012, the partnership launched a website (movetolearnms.org) that included a series of five-minute streaming fitness videos, information about the importance of physical activity in schools, and a database of hundreds of healthy lesson plans.

The videos, which feature Mississippi students exercising to music in a classroom, logged over 86,000 online views in the 2012-2013 school year. Meanwhile, the website had over 71,000 visits in that same time.

Offline, Move to Learn also started conducting in-school visits, in which Coach Larry Calhoun – a fitness instructor in the Clinton Public Schools and an inspiration of Move to Learn – would lead school-wide assemblies in Move to Learn exercises and share healthy habits. In 2013, Move to Learn has visited more than 67 schools, reaching 36,118 students across Mississippi.

Most recently, David Rock, Dean of the School of Education at the University of Mississippi, endorsed Move to Learn as an exemplary way to raise physical activity across Mississippi. As a result, student teachers at the University have started using Move to Learn.

See Move to Learn in action. Visit the website to learn more.

Coach Calhoun