The University of West Georgia in Carollton, Georgia enables students, faculty members and staff members to realize their full potential through academic engagement, supportive services, professional development and a caring, student-centered community. The UWG College of Education, Department of Sports Management, Wellness and Physical Education, is a Georgia Shape partner that has made strides in preparing students to be leaders in healthy habits for their future elementary and secondary students. The Department has also helped students improve their own health.
Understanding the positive effects of physical activity on academics, attendance and behavior, UWG is preparing future Georgia teachers by equipping them with the skills needed to incorporate physical activity into daily class activities. Jennifer Heidorn, lecturer, and Dr. Brian Mosier, associate professor and chair, worked with Georgia Shape and HealthMPowers to develop the Power Up for 30 Physical Activity Specialist Certificate for UWG elementary education and physical education students.
Power Up for 30, a statewide training offered to elementary and middle school teachers and staff members, reviews strategies and activities to empower schools to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity throughout the school day—including before, after and during classroom instruction. By teaching UWG students the components of the Power Up for 30 model, through the “UWG Power Up for 30 Physical Activity Specialist Certificate,” students graduate with the skills and resources they need to implement physical activity in their classrooms.
UWG students are able to practice the Power Up for 30 skills during their required practicum and internship experiences in elementary and secondary schools.
Zach Giddens, a UWG Physical Education student, was able to implement various physical activity initiatives including a “Walk and Talk” lunch program at Ruth Hill Elementary School, where he completed his internship:
"The walk and talk lunch program was a huge success,” he said. “The students were able to increase their levels of physical activity during the lunch break without losing vital instructional time in the classroom."
After students complete the certificate requirements, they receive the UWG Power Up for 30 Physical Activity Specialist Certificate, recognized by the Governor’s Office and the Georgia Departments of Public Health and Education.
“Power Up for 30 has changed the mindset of our entire school—not only the mindset of our students, but the teachers as well,” said Luke Young, assistant principal for Carrollton Junior High School. “Due to our Power Up for 30 initiative, teachers consider the importance of physical activity in the daily lives of their students and how it affects their physical wellbeing as well as academic performance. Students have also learned how important and easy it can be to get an extra 30 minutes of exercise each day.”
In addition to equipping UWG students with the skills and resources to be successful leaders of healthy habits in the classroom, the Department is also actively engaged in the health and wellbeing of UWG students through the Wolf Wellness Committee. This committee encourages all students, faculty members, and staff members to: initiate and expand healthier lifestyles, provide and support wellness programs to meet a variety of personal health needs, recognize students, faculty members and staff members for participating in healthier lifestyles activities, decrease absenteeism due to illness and stress, and develop a positive culture that is focused on celebrating and improving the quality of life for all.
Additional wellness activities taking place at UWG include the Wolf Wellness Lab, which provides leadership, education, advocacy and services to develop and promote a culture of health. It also maximizes the well being of UWG students, faculty members, staff members, and the surrounding community. The lab utilizes Zagster bike share and the Get Fruved movement, a movement created at the University of Tennessee to support student interaction and mutual encouragement for living a healthier lifestyle through events and social media.
To learn more about UWG, visit their website at www.westga.edu.